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Shepherd of Hermas

The Shepherd of Hermas

Originally translated by Roberts & Donaldson

First Book: Visions

First Vision


He who brought me up sold me to one Rhode in Rome. Many years after this I recognised her, and I began to love her as a sister. Some time after, I saw her bathe in the river Tiber. I gave her my hand, and drew her out of the river. The sight of her beauty made me think with myself, "I should be a happy man if I could but get a wife as handsome and good as she is." This was the only thought that passed through me, this and nothing more. A short time after this I was walking on my road to the villages, magnifying the creatures of Yahweh, thinking how magnificent, beautiful, and powerful they are. I fell asleep. The Spirit carried me away, and took me through a pathless place, through which a man could not travel, for it was situated in the middle of rocks. It was rugged and impassible on account of water. Having passed over this river, I came to a plain. I bent down on my knees, and began to pray to Yahweh, to confess my sins. As I prayed the heavens were opened, and I saw the woman whom I had desired saluting me from the sky, saying: "Hail, Hermas!" Looking up to her, I said: "Lady, what do you here?" And she answered me: "I was taken up here to accuse you of your sins before Yahweh." I said: "Lady, are you to be the subject of my accusation?" She said: "No, but hear the words I am going to speak to you. Yahweh (who dwells in the heavens, and made the things that exist out of nothing, multiplied and increased them on account of His sacred Church) is angry with you for sinning against me." I answered her: "Lady, did I sin against you? How? When did I speak an unseemly word to you? Did I not always think of you as a lady? Did I not always respect you as a sister? Why do you falsely accuse me of this wickedness and impurity?" With a smile she replied to me: "The desire of wickedness arose within your heart. Is it not your opinion that a righteous man commits sin when an evil desire arises in his heart? There is sin in such a case, and the sin is great." She said: "The thoughts of a righteous man should be righteous. By thinking righteously his character is established in the heavens, and he has Yahweh merciful to him in every business. But those who entertain wicked thoughts in their minds are bringing upon themselves death and captivity. This is especially the case with those who set their affections on this world, and glory in their riches, not looking forward to the blessings of the life to come. Their regrets will be many. They have no hope, but despair of themselves, and their life. Pray to Yahweh. He will heal your sins, the sins of your whole house, and of all the saints."


After she spoke these words, the heavens were shut. I was overwhelmed with sorrow and fear, and said to myself: "If this sin is assigned to me, how can I be saved? How will I propitiate Yahweh in regard to my sins, which are of the grossest character? With what words will I ask Yahweh to be merciful to me? While I was thinking over these things, and discussing them in my mind, I saw opposite to me a chair, white, made of white wool, of great size. There came up an old woman, arrayed in a splendid robe, with a book in her hand. She sat down alone, and saluted me: "Hail, Hermas!" In sadness and tears I said to her: "Lady, hail!" She said to me: "Why are you downcast, Hermas? You were wont to be patient, temperate, and always smiling. Why are you so gloomy, and not cheerful?"

I answered her, and said: "O Lady, I was reproached by a very good woman, who says I sinned against her." She said: "Far be such a deed from a servant of Yahweh. But perhaps a desire after her arose within your heart. In the case of the servants of Yahweh, such a wish produces sin. It is a wicked and horrible wish to desire an evil deed in an all-chaste and already well-tried spirit. Especially for Hermas to do so, who keeps himself from all wicked desire, is full of all simplicity, and of great guilelessness.


"Yahweh is not angry with you on account of this, but that you may convert your house who commits iniquity against Yahweh, and against you, their parents. Although you love your sons, yet you did not warn your house, but permitted them to be terribly corrupted. On this account Yahweh is angry with you, but He will heal all the evils done in your house. You are destroyed by the affairs of this world, on account of their sins and iniquities. But now the mercy of Yahweh takes pity on you, and your house. He will strengthen you, and establish you in His glory. Only do not be easy-minded. Be of good courage, and comfort your house. As a smith hammers out his work, and accomplishes whatever he wishes, so righteous daily speech overcomes all iniquity. Do not cease to admonish your sons. I know if they will repent with all their heart, they will be enrolled in the Books of Life with the saints." Having ended these words, she said to me: "Do you wish to hear me read?" I said to her: "Lady, I do." "Listen then, and give ear to the glories of Yahweh." And then I heard from her, magnificently and admirably, things which my memory could not retain. All the words were terrible, such as man could not endure. I do remember the last words, however, for they were useful to us, and gentle. "Lo, Yahweh of powers created the world by His invisible strong power and great wisdom. His glorious counsel surrounded His creation with beauty. His strong Word fixed the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth upon the waters. His own wisdom and providence created His sacred Church, which He blessed. Lo! He removes the heavens and the mountains, the hills and the seas. All things become plain to His elect, that He may bestow on them the blessing He promised them, with much glory and joy, if only they will keep the commandments of Yahweh which they received in great faith."


When she ended her reading, she rose from the chair. Four young men came, carried off the chair, and went away to the east. She called me to herself, touched my breast, and said to me: "Are you pleased with my reading?" I said to her: "Lady, the last words please me, but the first are cruel and harsh." Then she said to me: "The last are for the righteous, the first are for heathens and apostates." While she spoke to me two men appeared, raised her on their shoulders, and they went to where the chair was in the east. She departed with joyful countenance. As she went, she said to me: "Behave like a man, Hermas."

Second Vision


I was going to the country about the same time as on the previous year, in my walk I recalled to memory the vision of that year. The Spirit carried me away again, and took me to the same place where I was the year before. On coming to that place, I bowed my knees, began to pray to Yahweh, and to glorify His name. He deemed me worthy, and made my former sins known to me. On rising from prayer, I see opposite me that old woman, whom I saw the year before, walking, and reading some book. She says to me: "Can you carry a report of these things to the elect of Yahweh?" I said to her: "Lady, so much I cannot retain in my memory. Give me the book, and I will transcribe it." She said: "Take it, you will give it back to me." I took it, and went away into a certain part of the country. I transcribed the whole of it letter by letter, but I did not catch the syllables of it. No sooner had I finished the writing of the book, than all of a sudden it was snatched from my hands. I did not see who the person was that snatched it.


Fifteen days after, after I fasted and prayed much to Yahweh, the knowledge of the writing was revealed to me. The writing was to this effect: "Your seed, O Hermas, sinned against Yahweh. They blasphemed against Yahweh, and in their great wickedness they betrayed their parents. They passed as traitors of their parents, and by their treachery they did not reap profit. Even now they add to their sins lusts and iniquitous pollutions, and thus their iniquities are filled up. Make these words known to all your children, and to your wife, who is to be your sister. She does not restrain her tongue, with which she commits iniquity. But she will control herself on hearing these words, and will obtain mercy. After you make these words known to them which Yahweh commanded me to reveal to you, they will be forgiven all the sins they committed in former times. Forgiveness will be granted to all the saints who sin even to the present day, if they repent with all their heart, and drive all doubts from their minds. Yahweh swore by His glory, in regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day which is fixed, he will not be saved. The repentance of the righteous has limits. The days of repentance to all the saints are filled up. But, repentance will be possible to the heathen even to the last day. You will tell those who preside over the Church to direct their ways in righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with great glory. Stand stedfast, you who work righteousness, and do not doubt that your passage is with the sacred malaks. Happy are you who endure the great tribulation that is coming on, and happy are those who do not deny their own life. Yahweh swore by His Son, those who deny Yahshua have abandoned their life in despair, for even now these are to deny Him in the days that are coming. To those who denied in earlier times, Yahweh became gracious, on account of His exceeding tender mercy.


"As for you, Hermas, do not remember the wrongs done to you by your children, nor neglect your sister, that they may be cleansed from their former sins. They will be instructed with righteous instruction, if you do not remember the wrongs they did you. For the remembrance of wrongs works death. Hermas, you endured great personal tribulations on account of the transgressions of your house, because you did not attend to them, but were careless, engaged in your wicked transactions. But you are saved because you did not depart from the living Yahweh, and on account of your simplicity and great self-control. These saved you, if you remain stedfast. They will save all who act in the same manner, and walk in guilelessness and simplicity. Those who possess such virtues will wax strong against every form of wickedness, and will abide to eternal life. Blessed are all those who practise righteousness, for they will never be destroyed. You will tell Maximus: Lo! Tribulation comes on. If it seems good to you, deny again. Yahweh is near to those who return to Him, as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness."


My brethren, a revelation was given to me while I slept. A young man of comely appearance said to me: "Who do you think that old woman is whom you received the book from?" I said: "The Sibyl." He said: "You are in a mistake, it is not the Sibyl." "Who is it then" I said? And he said: "It is the Church." I said to him: "Why then is she an old woman?" "Because she was created first of all. On this account she is old. The world made was for her sake." After that I saw a vision in my house. That old woman came and asked me if I had yet given the book to the presbyters. I said I had not. Then she said: "You did well, for I have some words to add. When I finish all the words, all the elect will become acquainted with them through you. You will write two books, you will send one to Clemens, and the other to Grapte. Clemens will send his to foreign countries, permission is granted to him to do so. Grapte will admonish the widows and the orphans. You will read the words in this city, along with the presbyters who preside over the Church.

Third Vision


My brethren, the vision I saw was of the following nature. I fasted frequently, and prayed to Yahweh that He would show me the revelation He promised to show me through that old woman. The same night that old woman appeared to me, and said to me: "Since you are so anxious and eager to know all things, go into the part of the country where you tarry. I will appear to you about the fifth hour, and show you all you ought to see." I asked her, saying: "Lady, into what part of the country am I to go?" And she said: "Into any part you wish." I chose a spot which was suitable, and retired. Before I began to speak and to mention the place, she said to me: "I will come where you wish." Accordingly, I went to the country, counted the hours, and reached the place where I had promised to meet her. I saw an ivory seat ready placed, a linen cushion on it, and above the linen cushion was spread a covering of fine linen. Seeing these laid out, and yet no one in the place, I began to feel awe. As it were a trembling seized hold of me, and my hair stood on end. As it were a horror came upon me when I saw I was all alone. On coming back to myself, and calling to mind the glory of Yahweh, I took courage, bent my knees, and again confessed my sins to Yahweh as I did before. The old woman approached, accompanied by six young men whom I saw before. As I prayed and confessed my sins to Yahweh she stood behind me, and listened to me. Touching me, she said: "Hermas, cease praying continually for your sins. Pray for righteousness, that you may have a portion of it immediately in your house." On this, she took me up by the hand, brought me to the seat, and said to the young men: "Go, and build." When the young men went, and we were alone, she said to me: "Sit here." I say to her: "Lady, permit my elders to be seated first." "Do what I bid you," she said. "Sit down." When I would have sat down on her right, she did not permit me, but with her hand beckoned to me to sit down on the left. While I was thinking about this, and feeling vexed that she did not let me sit on the right, she said: "Are you vexed, Hermas? The place to the right is for others who have already pleased Yahweh, suffering for His name's sake. You have yet much to accomplish before you can sit with them. But abide as you now do in your simplicity. You will sit with them, and with all who do their deeds, and bear what they bore."


"What did they bear" I said? She said: "Listen, scourges, prisons, great tribulations, crosses, wild beasts, for Yahweh's name's sake. On this account the division of santification on the right hand is assigned to them, and to every one who suffers for Yahweh's name. The division on the left is assigned to the rest. There are the same gifts and promises both for those who sit on the right, and those who sit on the left. Those who sit on the right have some glory. You are eager to sit on the right with them, but your shortcomings are many. You will be cleansed from your shortcomings. All who are not given to doubts will be cleansed from all their iniquities up till this day." Saying this, she wished to go away. But falling down at her feet, I begged her by Yahweh that she would show me the vision she promised to show me. She took hold of me by the hand again, raised me, and made me sit on the seat to the left. Lifting up a splendid rod, she said to me: "Do you see something great?" And I say: "Lady, I see nothing." She said to me: "Lo! Do you not see opposite to you a great tower, built upon the waters, of splendid square stones?" The tower was built square by those six young men who came with her. Myriads of men were carrying stones to it, some dragging them from the depths, others removing them from the land, and they handed them to these six young men. They were taking them, and building. Those of the stones that were dragged out of the depths, they placed in the building just as they were. They were polished, fitted exactly into the other stones, and became so united one with another that the lines of juncture could not be perceived. In this way the building of the tower looked as if it were made out of one stone. Those stones which were taken from the earth suffered a different fate. The young men rejected some of them, and some they fitted into the building, some they cut down and cast far away from the tower. Many other stones lay around the tower, and the young men did not use them in building. Some of them were rough, others had cracks in them, others were made too short, and others were white and round, but did not fit into the building of the tower. Moreover, I saw other stones thrown far away from the tower, falling into the public road. They did not remain on the road, but were rolled into a pathless place. I saw others falling into the fire and burning, others falling close to the water, and yet not capable of being rolled into the water, though they wished to be rolled down, and to enter the water.


On showing me these visions, she wished to retire. I said to her: "What is the use of seeing all this, while I do not know what it means?" She said to me: "You are a cunning fellow, wishing to know everything that relates to the tower." "Even so, O Lady:" I said; "that I may tell it to my brethren. Hearing this, they may know Yahweh in much glory." She said: "Many will hear indeed, and hearing, some will be glad, and some will weep. But even these, if they hear and repent, will also rejoice. Hear then, the parables of the tower. I will reveal all to you, and give me no more trouble in regard to revelation. These revelations have an end, they are completed. But you will not cease praying for revelations, for you are shameless. The tower you see building is myself, the Church, who appears to you now and on the former occasion. Ask whatever you like in regard to the tower, and I will reveal it to you, that you may rejoice with the saints." I said to her: "Lady, since you promised to reveal all to me this once, reveal it." She said to me: "Whatsoever ought to be revealed, will be revealed. Let your heart be with Yahweh, do not doubt what you see." I asked her: "Why was the tower built upon the waters, O Lady?" She answered: "I told you before, and you still inquire carefully. Inquiring, you will find the truth. Hear then why the tower is built upon the waters. It is because your life was, and will be, saved through water. The tower was founded on The Word of the almighty and glorious Name, and it is kept together by the invisible power of Yahweh."


In reply I said to her: "This is magnificent and marvellous. Who are the six young men engaged in building?" She said: "These are the sacred malaks of Yahweh, who were created first, and to whom Yahweh handed over His whole creation, that they might increase, build up, and rule over, the whole creation. By these the building of the tower will be finished." "Who are the other persons engaged in carrying the stones?" These also are sacred malaks of Yahweh, but the former six are more excellent than these. The building of the tower will be finished, and all will rejoice together around the tower. They will glorify Yahweh, because the tower is finished." I asked her, saying: "Lady, I should like to know what became of the stones, and what was meant by the various kinds of stones?" In reply she said to me: "Not because you are more deserving than all others should this revelation be made to you, for there are others before you, and better than you, to whom these visions should have been revealed. The revelation is made to you so that the name of Yahweh is glorified. It is made on account of the doubtful who ponder in their hearts whether these things will be, or not. Tell those all these things are true, none of them is beyond the truth. All of them are firm and sure, and established on a strong foundation.


"Hear now with regard to the stones which are in the building. Those square white stones which fit exactly into each other are apostles, bishops, teachers, and deacons. They lived in righteous purity, and acted as bishops, teachers, and deacons chastely and reverently to the elect of Yahweh. Some of them fell asleep, and some still remain alive. They always agreed with each other, were at peace among themselves, and listened to each other. On account of this, they join exactly into the building of the tower." "But who are the stones that were dragged from the depths, which were laid into the building, and fitted in with the rest of the stones previously placed in the tower?" "They are those who suffered for Yahweh's sake." "But I wish to know, O Lady, who are the other stones which were carried from the land." She said: "Those which go into the building without being polished, are those whom Yahweh approved of. They walked in the straight ways of Yahweh, and practised His commandments." "But who are those who are in the act of being brought and placed in the building?" "They are those who are young in faith, and are faithful. They are admonished by the malaks to do good, for no iniquity was found in them." "Who then are those whom they rejected, and cast away?" "These are those who sinned, and wish to repent. On this account they are not thrown far from the tower, because they will yet be useful in the building, if they repent. Those who are to repent will be strong in faith, if they do repent, if they repent now while the tower is building. When the building is finished, there will not be more room for anyone, he will be rejected. This privilege, however, will belong only to him who is now placed near the tower.


"As to those who were cut down and thrown far away from the tower, do you wish to know who they are? They are the sons of iniquity. They believe in hypocrisy, and wickedness did not depart from them. For this reason they are not saved, since they cannot be used in the building on account of their iniquities. They are cut off and cast far away on account of the anger of Yahweh, for they roused Him to anger. I will explain to you the other stones which you saw lying in great numbers, and not going into the building. Those which are rough are those who knew the truth, and did not remain in it, nor were they joined to the saints. On this account are they unfit for use." "Who are those that have rents?" "These are those who are at discord in their hearts one with another, and are not at peace among themselves. They indeed keep peace before each other, but when they separate one from the other, their wicked thoughts remain in their hearts. These are the rents which are in the stones. Those which are shortened are those who indeed believed, and have the larger share of righteousness. Yet they also have a considerable share of iniquity, therefore they are shortened, and not whole." "But who are these, Lady, that are white and round, and yet do not fit into the building of the tower?" She answered, and said: "How long will you be foolish and stupid, and continue to put every kind of question, yet understand nothing? These are those who have faith indeed, but they also have the riches of this world. When tribulation comes, they deny Yahweh on account of their riches and business." I answered, and said to her: "When will they be useful for the building, Lady?" "When the riches that now seduce them are circumscribed, then they will be of use to Yahweh. As a round stone cannot become square unless portions are cut off and cast away, so also those who are rich in this world cannot be useful to Yahweh unless their riches are cut down. Learn this first from your own case. When you were rich, you were useless. Now you are useful, fit for life. Be useful to Yahweh, for you also will be used as one of these stones."


"Now the other stones which you saw cast far away from the tower, falling upon the public road, and rolling from it into pathless places, are those who indeed believed, but abandoned the true road through doubt. Thinking they could find a better, they wander, become wretched, and enter upon pathless places. Those which fell into the fire and were burned are those who have departed forever from the living Yahweh. The thought of repentance never comes into their hearts, on account of their devotion to their lusts, and to the crimes they committed. Do you wish to know who are the others which fell near the waters, but could not be rolled into them? These are those who heard the Word, and wish to be baptized in the name of Yahshua. But they draw back when the chastity demanded by the truth comes into their recollection, and walk after their own wicked desires again." She finished her exposition of the tower. Shameless as I yet was, I asked her: "Is repentance possible for all those stones which were cast away, and did not fit into the building of the tower? Will they yet have a place in this tower?" She said: "Repentance is yet possible, but they cannot find a suitable place in this tower. They will be laid in another and much inferior place, and that, too, only when they are tortured, and complete the days of their sins. On this account they will be transferred, because they partook of the righteous Word. They will only be removed from their punishments when the thought of repenting of the evil deeds they did comes into their hearts. If it does not come into their hearts, they will not be saved, on account of the hardness of their heart."


When I ceased asking in regard to all these matters, she said to me: "Do you wish to see anything else?" My countenance beamed with joy, as I was extremely eager to see something more. She looked towards me with a smile, and said: "Do you see seven women around the tower?" "I do, Lady:" I said. She said: "This tower is supported by them according to the precept of Yahweh. Listen to their functions. The first of them, who is clasping her hands, is called Faith. The elect of Yahweh are saved through her. Another, who has her garments tucked up and acts with vigour, is called Self-restraint. She is the daughter of Faith. Whoever follows her will become happy in his life, because he will restrain himself from all evil works, believing he will inherit eternal life if he restrain himself from all evil desire." I said: "But the others, O Lady, who are they?" And she said to me: "They are daughters of each other. One of them is called Simplicity, another Guilelessness, another Chastity, another Intelligence, another Love. When you do all the works of their mother, you will be able to live." I said: "I should like to know, O Lady, what power each one of them possesses." She said: "Hear what power they have. Their powers are regulated by each other, and follow each other in the order of their birth. From Faith arises Self-restraint; from Self-restraint, Simplicity; from Simplicity, Guilelessness; from Guilelessness, Chastity; from Chastity, Intelligence; and from Intelligence, Love. The deeds of these are pure, chaste, and divine. Whoever devotes himself to these, and is able to hold fast by their works, will have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of Yahweh." Then I asked her in regard to the ages, if there is the conclusion now. She cried out with a loud voice, "Foolish man! Do you not see the tower yet building? When the tower is finished and built, then the end comes. I assure you it will be finished soon. Ask me no more questions. Let you and all the saints be content with what I call to your remembrance, and with my renewal of your spirits. Observe that it is not for your own sake only these revelations are made to you, they are given you that you may show them to all. This you will take care to remember: After three days I Command you to speak all the words which I am to say to you into the ears of the saints, that hearing them and doing them, they may be cleansed from their iniquities, and you along with them."


Give ear to me, O Sons. I brought you up in much simplicity, guilelessness, and chastity, on account of the mercy of Yahweh. He dropped His righteousness down upon you, that you may be made righteous, sacred from all your iniquity and depravity. But you do not wish to rest from your iniquity. Now listen to me, be at peace one with another, visit each other, bear each other's burdens, and do not partake of Yahweh's creatures alone, but give abundantly of them to the needy. Through the abundance of their food some produce weakness in their flesh, and thus corrupt their flesh. Meanwhile the flesh of others who have no food is corrupted, because they do not have sufficient nourishment. Their bodies waste away on this account. This intemperance in eating is thus injurious to you who have abundance, and do not distribute among those who are needy. Give heed to the judgment that is to come. You who are high in position, seek out the hungry as long as the tower is not yet finished. After the tower is finished you will wish to do good, but will find no opportunity. Give heed, you who glory in your wealth, lest those who are needy should groan, and their groans should ascend to Yahweh, and you be shut out with all your goods beyond the gate of the tower. I say to you who preside over the Church, and love the first seats: "Do not be like to drug-mixers. The drug-mixers carry their drugs in boxes, but you carry your drug and poison in your heart. You are hardened, and do not wish to cleanse your hearts, nor to add unity of aim to purity of heart, that you may have mercy from the great King. Take heed children, that these dissensions of yours do not deprive you of your life. How will you instruct the elect of Yahweh, if you yourselves do not have instruction? Instruct each other, and be at peace among yourselves. That standing joyful before your Father, I may give an account of you all to Yahweh."


On her ceasing to speak to me, those six young men who were engaged in building came and conveyed her to the tower, and other four lifted up the seat and carried it also to the tower. The faces of these last I did not see, for they were turned away from me. As she was going, I asked her to reveal to me the meaning of the three forms in which she appeared to me. In reply she said to me: "With regard to them, you must ask another to reveal their meaning to you." She had appeared to me, brethren, in the first vision the previous year under the form of an exceedingly old woman, sitting in a chair. In the second vision her face was youthful, but her skin and hair betokened age, and she stood while she spoke to me. She was also more joyful than on the first occasion. But in the third vision she was entirely youthful, and exquisitely beautiful, except only that she had the hair of an old woman. Her face beamed with joy, and she sat on a seat. I was exceeding sad in regard to these appearances, for I longed much to know what the visions meant. Then I see the old woman in a vision of the night saying to me: "Every prayer should be accompanied with humility. Fast, and you will obtain what you beg from Yahweh." I fasted for one day. That very night there appeared to me a young man, who said: "Why do you frequently ask revelations in prayer? Take heed lest by asking many things you injure your flesh, be content with these revelations. Will you be able to see greater revelations than those which you have seen?" I answered, and said to him: "Sir, only one thing I ask, that in regard to these three forms the revelation may be rendered complete." He answered me: "How long are you senseless? Your doubts make you senseless, because you do not have your heart turned towards Yahweh." I answered, and said to him, "From you, sir, we will learn these things more accurately."


"He said: "Hear with regard to the three forms, concerning which you are inquiring. Why in the first vision did she appear to you as an old woman seated on a chair? Because your spirit is now old and withered up, and has lost its power in consequence of your infirmities and doubts. For, like elderly men who have no hope of renewing their strength, and expect nothing but their last sleep, so you have given yourselves up to sloth, weakened by worldly occupation. You did not cast your cares upon Yahweh. Your spirit is broken, and you have grown old in your sorrows." "I should like to know, sir, why she sat on a chair?" He answered, "Because every weak person sits on a chair on account of his weakness, that his weakness may be sustained. Lo! You have the form of the first vision.


"Now in the second vision you saw her standing with a youthful countenance, and more joyful than before. Still she had the skin and hair of an aged woman. He said: "Hear this parable also. When one becomes somewhat old, he despairs of himself on account of his weakness and poverty, and looks forward to nothing but the last day of his life. Then suddenly an inheritance is left him. Hearing of this, he rises up, and becoming exceeding joyful, he puts on strength. Now he no longer reclines, but stands up. Already destroyed by his previous actions, his spirit is renewed. He no longer sits, but acts with vigour. So it happened with you on hearing the revelation Yahweh gave you. Yahweh had compassion on you, and renewed your spirit, and you laid aside your infirmities. Vigour arose within you, and you grew strong in faith. Seeing your strength, Yahweh rejoiced. On this account He showed you the building of the tower. He will show you other things, if you continue at peace with each other with all your heart.


"Now, in the third vision, you saw her still younger. She was noble, joyful, and her shape was beautiful. When some good news suddenly comes to one who is sad, he immediately forgets his former sorrows, and looks for nothing else than the good news he heard. The future is made strong for good, and his spirit is renewed on account of the joy he received. So you also received the renewal of your spirits by seeing these good things. As to your seeing her sitting on a seat, that means her position is one of strength, for a seat has four feet, and stands firmly. Also the world is kept together by means of four elements. Those who repent completely, with the whole heart, will become young and firmly established. You now have the revelation completely given you? Make no further demands for revelations. If anything ought to be revealed, it will be revealed to you."

Fourth Vision


Twenty days after the former vision I saw another vision, brethren, a representation of the tribulation that is to come. I was going to a country house along the Campanian road. The house lay about ten furlongs from the public road. The district is one rarely traversed. I walked alone. I prayed to Yahweh to complete the revelations He made to me through His sacred Church, that He might strengthen me, and give repentance to all His servants who were going astray, that His great and glorious name might be glorified because He promised to show me His marvels. While I was glorifying Him and giving Him thanks, a voice, as it were, answered me: "Do not doubt, Hermas." I began to think with myself, and to say: "What reason do I have to doubt, I who is established by Yahweh, and who saw such glorious sights?" I advanced a little, brethren. Lo! I see dust rising even to the heavens. I began to say to myself: "Are cattle approaching, and raising the dust?" It was about a furlong's distance from me. Lo! I see the dust rising more and more, so that I imagined it was something sent from Yahweh. But now the sun shone out a little. Lo! I see a mighty beast like a whale, and fiery locusts proceed out of its mouth. The size of that beast was about a hundred feet, and it had a head like an urn. I began to weep, and to call on Yahweh to rescue me from it. Then I remembered the word I heard: "Do not doubt, Oh Hermas." My brethren, I boldly faced the beast, clothed with faith in Yahweh, and remembering the great things He taught me. The beast came on with such noise and force, it could itself have destroyed a city. I came near it. The monstrous beast stretched itself out on the ground, showed nothing but its tongue, and did not stir at all until I passed by it. The beast had four colors on its head: black, then fiery and bloody, then golden, and lastly white.


I passed by the wild beast, and moved forward about thirty feet. Lo! A virgin meets me, adorned as if she were proceeding from the bridal chamber, clothed entirely in white, with white sandals, veiled up to her forehead, and her head was covered by a hood. And she had white hair. I knew from my former visions this is the Church, and I became more joyful. She saluted me, and said: "Hail, Oh man!" I returned her salutation, and said: "Lady, hail!" She answered, and said to me: "Has nothing crossed your path?" I say: "I was met by a beast of such a size it could destroy peoples, but I escaped from it through the power of Yahweh and His great mercy." "Well you did escape from it:" says she; "because you cast your care on Yahweh. You opened your heart to Yahweh, believing you can be saved by no other than by His great and glorious name. On this account Yahweh sent His malak, who has rule over the beasts, and whose name is Thegri. He shut up its mouth, so that it cannot tear you. You escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, tell the elect of Yahweh His mighty deeds, and say to those this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. Prepare yourselves, repent with all your heart, and turn to Yahweh. It will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart is pure and spotless, and you spend the rest of the days of your life in serving Yahweh blamelessly. Cast your cares upon Yahweh, and He will direct them. Trust Yahweh, you who doubt. He is all-powerful, and can turn His anger away from you, and send scourges on the doubters. Woe to those who hear these words, and despise them, it were better for them to not be born."


I asked her about the four colors the beast had on his head. She answered, and said to me: "Again you are inquisitive in regard to such matters." I said: "Yea, Lady, make known to me what they are." "Listen." She said: "The black is the world in which we dwell. The fiery and bloody points out that the world must perish through blood and fire. The golden part are you who escape from this world. Gold is tested by fire, and thus becomes useful, so are you who dwell in it tested. Those who are put through the fire, and continue stedfast, will be purified by means of it. As gold casts away its dross, so also you will cast away all sadness and straitness, and will be made pure so as to fit into the building of the tower. The white part is the age to come, in which the elect of Yahweh will dwell, since those elected to eternal life by Yahweh will be spotless, and pure. Do not cease speaking these things into the ears of the saints. This then is the type of the great tribulation that is to come. If you wish it, it will be nothing. Remember those things which were written down before." And saying this, she departed. I did not see into what place she retired. There was a noise, however, and I turned round in alarm, thinking the beast was coming.

Fifth Vision

I was praying at home, and sat down on my couch. A man of glorious aspect entered there, dressed like a shepherd with a white goat's skin, a wallet on his shoulders, and a rod in his hand, and saluted me. I returned his salutation. He sat down beside me, and said to me: "I am sent by a most venerable malak to dwell with you the remaining days of your life." I thought he came to tempt me, and I said to him: "Who are you? For I know him to whom I was entrusted." He said to me: "Do you not know me?" "No:" I said. He said: "I am that shepherd to whom you are entrusted." His figure was changed as he was speaking, and then I knew it was he to whom I am entrusted. I became confused, and fear took hold of me. I was overpowered with deep sorrow that I had answered him so wickedly and foolishly. But he answered, and said to me: "Do not be confounded, receive strength from the commandments I am going to give you. I am sent:" said he; "to show you again all the things you saw before, especially those that are useful to you. First of all, then, write down my commandments and similitudes. You will write the other things as I show you. For this purpose:" said he; "I command you to write down the commandments and similitudes first, that you may read them easily, and be able to keep them." Accordingly I wrote down the commandments and similitudes, exactly as he ordered me. If you hear these, keep them, walk in them, and practise them with pure minds, you will receive from Yahweh all He promised to you. If you do not repent after you hear them, but continue to add to your sins, then you will receive the opposite things from Yahweh. The shepherd, even the malak of repentance, commanded me to write all these words.

Second Book: Commandments

First Commandment

FIRST Of all, believe there is one Yahweh who created and finished all things, and made all things out of nothing. He alone is able to contain the whole, but Himself cannot be contained. Have faith in Him, and fear Him. Fearing Him, exercise self-control. Keep these commands, and you will cast all wickedness away from you. If you keep this commandment you put on the strength of righteousness, and live to Yahweh.

Second Commandment

He said to me: "Be simple, and guileless. Be as children who do not know the wickedness that ruins the life of men. First, then, speak evil of no one, nor listen with pleasure to anyone who speaks evil of another. If you listen, you partake of the sin of him who speaks evil, if you believe the slander you hear. Believing it, you will also have something to say against your brother. Thus, then, you will be guilty of the sin of him who slanders. Slander is evil, an unsteady demon. It never abides in peace, but always remains in discord. Keep yourself from it, and you will always be at peace with all. Put on a holiness in which there is no wicked cause of offence, but all deeds are equable and joyful. Practise goodness. Give to all the needy in simplicity from the rewards of your labors Yahweh gives you, not hesitating as to whom you are to give or to not give. Give to all, for Yahweh wishes His gifts to be shared among all. Those who receive will render an account to Yahweh why, and for what, they received. The afflicted who receive will not be condemned, but those who receive on false pretences will suffer punishment. He who gives is guiltless. As he received from Yahweh, so he accomplished his service in simplicity, not hesitating as to whom he should give, and to whom he should not give. If accomplished in simplicity, this service is glorious with Yahweh. He who ministers in simplicity will live to Yahweh. Keep these commandments I give to you, that your repentance and the repentance of your house may be found in simplicity, and your heart may be pure and stainless."

Third Commandment

Again he said to me: "Love the truth. Let nothing but truth proceed from your mouth, that the spirit Yahweh placed in your flesh is found truthful before all men. Yahweh, who dwells in you, will be glorified, because Yahweh is truthful in every word, and in Him is no falsehood. Those who lie deny Yahweh, and rob Him, not giving back to Him the deposit they received. They received a spirit free from falsehood from Him. If they give Him back this spirit untruthful, they pollute the commandment of Yahweh, and become robbers." On hearing these words, I wept most violently. When he saw me weeping, he said to me: "Why do you weep?" And I said: "Because, sir, I do not know if I can be saved." "Why:" he said? I said: "Because, sir, I never spoke a true word in my life. I ever spoke cunningly to all, and affirmed a lie for the truth to all. No one ever contradicted me, credit was given to my word. How can I live, since I acted thus?" He said to me: "Your feelings are indeed right and sound. As a servant of Yahweh you ought to walk in truth, not join an evil conscience with the spirit of truth, nor cause sadness to the sacred and true Spirit." I said to him: "Never, sir, did I listen to these words with so much attention." He said to me: "Now you hear them, keep them. The falsehoods you formerly told in your transactions may come to be believed through the truthfulness of your present statements. Even they can become worthy of credit. If you keep these precepts, and from this time forward you speak nothing but the truth, it will be possible for you to obtain life. Whosoever hears this commandment, and departs from that great wickedness falsehood, will live to Yahweh."

Fourth Commandment


"I charge you to guard your chastity:" he said. "Let no thought of another man's wife enter your heart, or of fornication, or of similar iniquities, for by doing this you commit a great sin. You will never sin if you always remember your own wife. If this thought enters your heart, then you will sin. If you think other wicked thoughts in like manner, you commit sin. This thought is great sin in a servant of Yahweh. If anyone commit this wicked deed, he works death for himself. Attend, refrain from this thought. Where purity dwells, iniquity ought to not enter the heart of a righteous man." I said to him: "Sir, permit me to ask you a few questions." "Say on:" he said. I said to him: "Sir, if anyone has a wife who trusts in Yahweh, and if he detects adultery in her, does the man sin if he continue to live with her?" He said to me: "As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband knows his wife went astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery." I said to him: "What is the husband to do, sir, if his wife continues in her vicious practices?" He said: "The husband should put her away, and remain by himself. If he put his wife away, and marry another, he also commits adultery." I said to him: "What if the put away woman should repent, and wish to return to her husband? Should she be taken back by her husband?" He said to me: "Assuredly. If the husband does not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself. He ought to take back the sinner who repents. But not frequently. There is but one repentance to the servants of Yahweh. In case the divorced wife may repent, the husband ought to not marry another, when his wife is put away. In this matter man and woman are to be treated exactly in the same way. Moreover, adultery is committed not only by those who pollute their flesh, but by those who imitate the heathen in their actions." If any one persists in such deeds, and does not repent, withdraw from him, and cease to live with him. Otherwise you are a sharer in his sin. The injunction is laid on you, that you should remain by yourselves, both man and woman, for in such persons repentance can take place." He said: "I do not give opportunity for the doing of these deeds, but that he who sinned may sin no more. There is One who is able to provide a cure with regard to his previous transgressions. It is He, indeed, who has power over all."


I asked him again, and said: "Since Yahweh promised to dwell with me always, bear with me while I utter a few words. I understand nothing, my heart is hardened by my previous mode of life. Give me understanding, for I am exceedingly dull, and I understand absolutely nothing." He answered, and said to me: "I am set over repentance. I give understanding to all who repent. Do you think it is great wisdom to repent? Repentance is great wisdom. He who has sinned understands that he acted wickedly in the sight of Yahweh, and remembers the actions he did. He repents, and no longer acts wickedly. He does munificently good, and humbles and torments his soul because he sinned. You see that repentance is great wisdom." I said to him: "It is for this reason, sir, that I inquire carefully into all things, especially because I am a sinner. I may know what works I should do, that I may live, for my sins are many and various." He said to me: "You will live if you keep my commandments, and walk in them. Whosoever hears and keeps these commandments will live to Yahweh."


I said to him: "I should like to continue my questions." "Speak on:" he said. I said: "Sir, I heard some teachers maintain there is no other repentance than that which takes place when we descend into the water and receive remission of our former sins." He said to me: "That is sound doctrine you heard, for that is really the case. He who receives remission of his sins ought to not sin any more, but to live in purity. I point this out to you since you inquire diligently into all things, however, not as giving occasion for error to those who are to believe, or have lately believed, in Yahweh. Those who recently believed, and those who are to believe, do not have repentance for their sins, they have remission of their previous sins. Yahweh set repentance to those who were called before these days. Yahweh knows the heart, and foreknows all things. He knew the weakness of men, and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the servants of Yahweh, and would act wickedly towards them. Being merciful, Yahweh had mercy on the work of His hand, and set repentance for them. He entrusted power over this repentance to me. And I say to you, If anyone is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and sacred calling in which Yahweh called His people to everlasting life, he has but one opportunity to repent. If he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail, he will live with difficulty." I said: "Sir, I feel life come back to me in listening attentively to these commandments. I know I will be saved, if I sin no more in the future." He said: "You will be saved, you and all who keep these commandments."


I asked him again, saying: "Sir, since you are so patient in listening to me, will you show me this also?" "Speak:" he said. I said: "If a wife or husband die, and the widower or widow marry, does he or she commit sin?" "There is no sin in marrying again:" he said. "If they remain unmarried, they gain greater honor and glory with Yahweh. If they marry, they do not sin. Guard your chastity and purity, and you will live to Yahweh. Keep from hereforth what commandments I now give you, and what I am to give. Yea, from the very day when you were entrusted to me, and I will dwell in your house. Your former sins will be forgiven, if you keep my commandments. All will be forgiven who keep these my commandments, and walk in this chastity."

Fifth Commandment


He said: "Be patient, and of good understanding. You will rule over every wicked work, and you will work all righteousness. If you are patient, the sacred Spirit that dwells in you will be pure. He will not be darkened by any evil spirit, but, dwelling in a broad region, he will rejoice and be glad. He will serve Yahweh in gladness with the vessel in which he dwells, having great peace within himself. If any outburst of anger take place, forthwith the tender sacred Spirit is straitened, not having a pure place, and He seeks to depart. He is choked by the vile spirit, and cannot attend on Yahweh as he wishes, for anger pollutes him. Yahweh dwells in long-suffering, but the devil in anger. When dwelling in the same habitation the two spirits are at discord with each other, and are troublesome to that man in whom they dwell. If an exceedingly small piece of wormwood is taken and put into a jar of honey, is the honey not entirely destroyed? The exceedingly small piece of wormwood entirely takes away the sweetness of the honey, so that it no longer affords any gratification to its owner, but has become bitter, and lost its use. If the wormwood was not put into the honey, then the honey remains sweet, and is of use to its owner. You see, then, that patience is sweeter than honey, and useful to Yahweh, and Yahweh dwells in it. Anger is bitter and useless. If anger is mingled with patience, the patience is polluted, and then its prayer is not useful to Yahweh." I said: "Sir, I should like to know the power of anger, that I may guard myself against it." He said: "If you do not guard yourself against it, you and your house lose all hope of salvation. Guard yourself against it. I am with you, and all will depart from it who repent with their whole heart. I will be with them, and I will save them all. All are justified by the most sacred malak.


He said: "Hear how wicked the action of anger is, and in what way it overthrows the servants of Yahweh by its action, and turns them from righteousness. It does not turn away those who are full of faith, nor does it act on them, for the power of Yahweh is with them. It is the thoughtless and doubting that it turns away. As soon as it sees such men standing stedfast, it throws itself into their hearts, and for nothing at all the man or woman becomes embittered on account of occurrences in their daily life. For instance on account of their food, or some superfluous word that was uttered, or on account of some friend, or some gift or debt, or some such senseless affair. All these things are foolish, empty, and unprofitable to the servants of Yahweh. Patience is great, mighty, strong, calm in the midst of great enlargement, joyful, rejoicing, free from care, glorifying Yahweh at all times, having no bitterness in her, abiding continually meek and quiet. This patience dwells with those who have complete faith. Anger is foolish, fickle, and senseless. Bitterness is begotten of folly, anger of bitterness, and frenzy of anger. This frenzy, the product of so many evils, ends in great and incurable sin. When all these spirits dwell in one vessel in which the sacred Spirit also dwells, the vessel cannot contain them, but overflows. The tender Spirit is not accustomed to dwell with the wicked spirit, nor with hardness. He withdraws from such a man, and seeks to dwell with meekness and peacefulness. The man is emptied of the righteous Spirit when he withdraws from the man in whom he dwelt. Being filled with evil spirits hereforward, he is in a state of anarchy in every action, being dragged here and there by the evil spirits. There is a complete darkness in his mind as to everything good. This is what happens to all the angry. Depart from that most wicked spirit anger, resist anger and bitterness. Put on patience, and you will be found in company with the purity which is loved by Yahweh. Take care, then, that you not neglect this commandment by any chance. If you obey this commandment, you will be able to keep all the other commandments I am to give you. Be strong in these commandments, and put on power. Let all put on power, as many as wish to walk in them."

Sixth Commandment


He said: "I gave you directions in the first commandment to attend to faith, fear, and self-restraint." "Even so, sir:" I said. He said: "Now I wish to show you the powers of these, that you may know what power each possesses. Their powers are double, and have relation alike to the righteous and the unrighteous. Trust the righteous, but put no trust in the unrighteous. The path of righteousness is straight, but that of unrighteousness is crooked. Walk in the straight and even way, and mind not the crooked. The crooked path has no roads, but has many pathless places and stumbling-blocks in it, and it is rough and thorny. It is injurious to those who walk therein. Those who walk in the straight road walk evenly without stumbling, because it is neither rough nor thorny. You see, then, that it is better to walk in this road." "I wish to go by this road:" I said. "You will go by it:" he said. "Whoever turns to Yahweh with all his heart will walk in it."


He said: "Hear in regard to faith. There are two malaks with a man, one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity." I said to him: "Sir, how am I to know the powers of these, for both malaks dwell with me?" "Hear and understand them:" he said. "The malak of righteousness is gentle and modest, meek and peaceful. When he ascends into your heart, forthwith he talks to you of righteousness, purity, chastity, contentment, and of every righteous deed and glorious virtue. When all these ascend into your heart, know the malak of righteousness is with you. These are the deeds of the malak of righteousness. Trust him, and his works. Look now at the works of the malak of iniquity. First, he is wrathful, bitter, and foolish. His works are evil, and ruin the servants of Yahweh. When he ascends into your heart, know him by his works." I said to him: "I do not know how I will perceive him." "Hear and understand:" he said. "When anger comes upon you, or harshness, know he is in you. You will also know this to be the case when you are attacked by a longing after many transactions, the richest delicacies, drunken revels, diverse luxuries, things improper, by a hankering after women, by overreaching, pride, blustering, and by whatever is like to these. When these ascend into your heart, know the malak of iniquity is in you. Now that you know his works, depart from him, and in no respect trust him. His deeds are evil, and unprofitable to the servants of Yahweh. These, then, are the actions of both malaks. Understand them, and trust the malak of righteousness. Depart from the malak of iniquity, because his instruction is bad in every deed. Though a man is most faithful, and the thought of this malak ascend into his heart, that man or woman must sin. On the other hand, be a man or woman ever so bad, yet, if the works of the malak of righteousness ascend into his or her heart, he or she must do something good. You see it is good to follow the malak of righteousness, but to bid farewell to the malak of iniquity. "This commandment exhibits the deeds of faith, that you may trust the works of the malak of righteousness, and doing them you may live to Yahweh. Believe the works of the malak of iniquity are hard. If you refuse to do them, you will live to Yahweh."

Seventh Commandment

He said: "Fear Yahweh. Keep His commandments. If you keep the commandments of Yahweh, you will be powerful in every action, and every one of your actions will be incomparable. Fearing Yahweh, you will do all things well. This is the fear you ought to have, that you may be saved. Do not fear the devil. Fear Yahweh, and you will have dominion over the devil, for there is no power in him. He in whom there is no power ought on no account to be an object of fear, but He in whom there is glorious power is truly to be feared. Every one who has power ought to be feared, he who does not have power is despised by all. Fear the deeds of the devil, since they are wicked. Fear Yahweh, and you will not do these deeds, but will refrain from them. Fears are of two kinds. If you do not wish to do that which is evil, fear Yahweh, and you will not do it. Again, if you wish to do that which is good, fear Yahweh, and you will do it. The fear of Yahweh is strong, great, and glorious. Fear Yahweh, and you will live to Him. As many as fear Him and keep His commandments will live to Yahweh." I said: "Sir, why did you say in regard to those who keep His commandments, that they will live to Yahweh?" He says: "All creation fears Yahweh, but all creation does not keep His commandments. Those only who fear Yahweh and keep His commandments have life with Yahweh. As to those who do not keep His commandments, there is no life in them."

Eighth Commandment

He said: "I told you the creatures of Yahweh are double, for restraint also is double. In some cases restraint has to be exercised, in others there is no need of restraint." I say: "Make known to me, sir, in what cases restraint has to be exercised, and in what cases it has not." "Restrain yourself in regard to evil, and not do it. Exercise no restraint in regard to good, but do it. If you exercise restraint in the doing of good, you will commit a great sin. If you exercise restraint, so as to not do that which is evil, you are practising great righteousness. Restrain yourself from all iniquity, and do that which is good." I say: "Sir, what are the evil deeds from which we must restrain ourselves?" He says: "From adultery and fornication, from unlawful revelling, from wicked luxury, from indulgence in many kinds of food, the extravagance of riches, from boastfulness, haughtiness, insolence, lies, backbiting, hypocrisy, from the remembrance of wrong, and from all slander. These are the deeds that are most wicked in the life of men. The servant of Yahweh must restrain himself from all these deeds. He who does not restrain himself from these cannot live to Yahweh. Listen to the deeds that accompany these." "Are there any other evil deeds:" I said?

"There are many of them:" he says. The servant of Yahweh must restrain himself from theft, lying, robbery, false witness, overreaching, wicked lust, deceit, vainglory, boastfulness, and all other vices like to these." "Do you think these are really wicked?" "Exceedingly wicked in the servants of Yahweh. The servant of Yahweh must restrain himself from all of these. Restrain yourself from all these, that you may live to Yahweh, and you will be enrolled among those who restrain themselves in regard to these matters. These are the things from which you must restrain yourself.

He says: "Listen to the things in regard to which you do not have to exercise self-restraint, but which you ought to do. Do not restrain yourself in regard to that which is good, but do it." I say: "Sir, tell me the nature of the good deeds, that I may walk in them, and wait on them, so that doing them I can be saved." He says: "Listen to the good deeds you ought to do, in regard to which there is no self-restraint requisite.

First of all there is faith, then fear of Yahweh, love, concord, words of righteousness, truth, patience. Nothing is better in the life of men than these. If anyone attend to these, and not restrain himself from them, blessed is he in his life. There are the following attendant on these: helping widows, looking after orphans and the needy, rescuing the servants of Yahweh from necessities, being hospitable (good-doing finds a field in hospitality), never opposing anyone, being quiet, having fewer needs than all men, reverencing the aged, practising righteousness, watching the brotherhood, bearing insolence, being long-suffering, encouraging those who are sick in soul, not casting those who have fallen into sin from the faith, but turning them back and restoring them to peace of mind, admonishing sinners, not oppressing debtors and the needy, and if there are any other actions like these. Do these seem good to you:" he says? "What is better than these:" I say. "Walk then in them:" he says. "Do not restrain yourself from them, and you will live to Yahweh. Keep this commandment. If you do good, and not restrain yourself from it, you will live to Yahweh. All who act thus will live to Yahweh. Again, if you refuse to do evil, and restrain yourself from it, you will live to Yahweh. All who keep these commandments, and walk in them, will live to Yahweh."

Ninth Commandment

He says to me: "Put away doubting from you. Do not hesitate to ask of Yahweh, saying to yourself: 'How can I ask of Yahweh, and receive from Him, seeing I sinned against Him so much?' Do not reason with yourself thus. Turn to Yahweh with all your heart, ask of Him without doubting, and you will know the multitude of His tender mercies. He will never leave you, but fulfil the request of your soul. He is not like men, who remember evils done against them. He Himself does not remember evil, and has compassion on His own creature. Cleanse your heart from all the vanities of this world, and from the words already mentioned. Ask of Yahweh, and you will receive all. You will be denied none of your requests which you make to Yahweh without doubting. If you doubt in your heart, you will receive none of your requests. Those who doubt regarding Yahweh are double-souled, and obtain none of their requests. Those who are perfect in faith ask everything, trusting in Yahweh. They obtain because they ask doubting nothing, not being double-souled. Even if every double-souled man repent, he will with difficulty be saved. Cleanse your heart from all doubt, and put on faith, because it is strong. Trust Yahweh that you will obtain all you ask from Him. If at any time, after you have asked of Yahweh, you are slower in obtaining your request [than you expected], do not doubt because you did not soon obtain the request of your soul. Invariably it is on account of some temptation or some sin of which you are ignorant that you are slower in obtaining your request. Do not cease to make the request of your soul, and you will obtain it. If you grow weary and waver in your request, blame yourself, not Him who does not give to you. Consider this doubting state of mind, for it is wicked and senseless, and turns many entirely away from the faith, even though they are very strong. Doubting is the daughter of the devil, and acts exceedingly wickedly to the servants of Yahweh. Despise doubting, and gain the mastery over it in everything. Clothe yourself with faith, which is strong and powerful. Faith promises all things, perfects all things. Having no thorough faith in itself, doubt fails in every work it undertakes. You see, then, faith is from above, from Yahweh, and has great power. Doubt is an earthly spirit, coming from the devil, and has no power. Serve that which has power, namely faith. Keep away from doubt, which has no power, and you will live to Yahweh. All will live to Yahweh whose minds are set on these things."

Tenth Commandment


"Remove grief from you, for she is the sister of doubt and anger." I say: "Sir, how is she the sister of these? Anger, doubt, and grief, seem to be quite different from each other." "You are senseless, O man. Do you not perceive that grief is more wicked than all the spirits, and most terrible to the servants of Yahweh? She destroys man, crushes out the sacred Spirit more than all other spirits, and yet, on the other hand, she saves him?" "I am senseless, sir:" I say. "I do not understand these parables. How she can crush out, and on the other hand save, I do not perceive." "Listen:" he says. "Those who never search for the truth, nor investigate the nature of the Divinity, but simply believed, when they devote themselves to and become mixed up with business, wealth, heathen friendships, and many other actions of this world, do not perceive the parables of Divinity. Their minds are darkened by these actions, they are corrupted, and become dried up. Even as beautiful vines are withered up by thorns and diverse plants when they are neglected, so are men who believed, and afterwards fell away into many of those actions above mentioned, go astray in their minds, and lose all understanding in regard to righteousness. If they hear of righteousness, their minds are occupied with their business, and they give no heed at all. On the other hand, those who have the fear of Yahweh, search after righteousness and truth, and have their hearts turned to Yahweh, quickly perceive and understand what is said to them, because they have the fear of Yahweh in them. There is much understanding where Yahweh dwells. Cleave to Yahweh, you will understand and perceive all things.


He says: "Hear, foolish man, how grief crushes out the sacred Spirit, and on the other hand saves. When the doubting man attempts any deed, and fails in it on account of his doubt, this grief enters into the man, and grieves the sacred Spirit, and crushes him out. Then, on the other hand, when anger attaches itself to a man in regard to any matter, and he is embittered, then grief enters into the heart of the man who was irritated, he is grieved at the deed he did, and repents that he wrought a wicked deed. This grief appears to be accompanied by salvation, because the man repented after doing a wicked deed. Both actions grieve the Spirit. Doubt, because it did not accomplish its object. Anger grieves the Spirit, because it did what was wicked. Both these are grievous to the sacred Spirit: doubt and anger. Remove grief from you, do not crush the sacred Spirit which dwells in you, lest he entreat Yahweh against you, and he withdraw from you. The Spirit of Yahweh which is granted to us to dwell in this body does not endure grief nor straitness. Put on cheerfulness, which always is agreeable and acceptable to Yahweh, and rejoice in it. Every cheerful man does what is good, and minds what is good, and despises grief. The sorrowful man always acts wickedly. First, he acts wickedly because he grieves the sacred Spirit, which was given to man a cheerful Spirit. Secondly, Grieving the sacred Spirit, he works iniquity, neither entreating Yahweh nor confessing to Him. The entreaty of the sorrowful man has no power to ascend to the altar of Yahweh." I say: "Why does the entreaty of the grieved man not ascend to the altar?" "Because grief sits in his heart. Grief, mingled with his entreaty, does not permit the entreaty to ascend pure to the altar of Yahweh. As vinegar and wine, when mixed in the same vessel, do not give the same pleasure [as wine alone gives], so grief mixed with the sacred Spirit does not produce the same entreaty [as would be produced by the sacred Spirit alone]. Cleanse yourself from this wicked grief, and you will live to Yahweh. All who drive away grief from them will live to Yahweh, and put on all cheerfulness."

Eleventh Commandment

He pointed out to me some men sitting on a seat, and one man sitting on a chair. He says to me: "Do you see the persons sitting on the seat?" "I do, sir:" I said. He says: "These are the faithful. He who sits on the chair is a false prophet, ruining the minds of the servants of Yahweh. It is the doubters, not the faithful, that he ruins. These doubters go to him as to a soothsayer, and inquire of him what will happen to them. Not having the power of a Divine Spirit in him, the false prophet answers them according to their inquiries, according to their wicked desires, and fills their souls with expectations according to their own wishes. Being himself empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers, for every answer is made to the emptiness of man. Some true words he does occasionally utter, for the devil fills him with his own spirit, in the hope that he may be able to overcome some of the righteous. As many as are strong in the faith of Yahweh, and are clothed with truth, have no connection with such spirits, but keep away from them. As many as are of doubtful minds, and frequently repent, betake themselves to soothsaying even as the heathen, and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatry. He who inquires of a false prophet in regard to any action is an idolater, devoid of the truth, and foolish.

No spirit given by Yahweh requires to be asked. Having the power of Divinity such a spirit speaks all things of itself, for it proceeds from above from the power of the Divine Spirit. The spirit which is asked, and speaks according to the desires of men, is earthly, light, and powerless. It is altogether silent if it is not questioned." I say: "Sir, how will a man know which of them is the prophet, and which the false prophet?" He says: "I will tell you about both the prophets, and then you can try the true and the false prophet according to my directions.

Try the man who has the Divine Spirit by his life. First, he who has the Divine Spirit proceeding from above is meek, peaceable, humble, refrains from all iniquity and the vain desire of this world, and contents himself with fewer wants than those of other men. He makes no reply when asked, nor does he speak privately. The sacred Spirit does not speak when man wishes the spirit to speak, but it speaks only when Yahweh wishes it to speak. When a man having the Divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in the Divine Spirit, and this assembly of men offers up prayer to Yahweh, then the malak of the prophetic Spirit, who is destined for him, fills the man. Being filled with the sacred Spirit, the man speaks to the multitude as Yahweh wishes. Thus will the Spirit of Divinity become manifest. Whatever power comes from the Spirit of Divinity belongs to Yahweh.

He says: "Hear in regard to the spirit which is earthly, empty, powerless, and foolish. First, the man who seems to have the Spirit exalts himself, wishes to have the first seat, is bold, impudent, talkative, lives in the midst of many luxuries, and many other delusions, and takes rewards for his prophecy. If he does not receive rewards, he does not prophesy. Can the Divine Spirit take rewards, and prophesy? It is not possible that the prophet of Yahweh should do this, prophets of this character are possessed by an earthly spirit. It never approaches an assembly of righteous men, but shuns them. It associates with doubters, and the vain. It prophesies to them in a corner, and deceives them, speaking mere empty words to them according to their desires, for they are empty to whom it gives its answers. The empty vessel is not crashed when placed along with the empty, but they correspond to each other. When it comes into an assembly of righteous men who have a Spirit of Divinity, and they offer up prayer, that man is made empty. The earthly spirit flees from him through fear, and that man is made dumb, entirely crashed, being unable to speak. If you closely pack a storehouse with wine or oil, and put an empty jar in the midst of the vessels of wine or oil, you will find that jar empty as when you placed it, if you should wish to clear the storehouse. So also the empty prophets, when they come to the spirits of the righteous, are found [on leaving] to be such as they were when they came.

This is the mode of life of both prophets. Try by his deeds and his life the man who says he is inspired. As for you, trust the Spirit which comes from Yahweh, and has power. Do not trust at all the spirit which is earthly, and empty, for there is no power in it. It comes from the devil. Hear the parable I am to tell you. Take a stone, throw it to the sky, and see if you can touch it. Or again, take a squirt of water, squirt into the sky, and see if you can penetrate the sky." I say: "Sir, how can these things take place? Both of them are impossible." He says: "As these things are impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless, and pithless. On the other hand, look at the power which comes from above. Hail is of the size of a very small grain, yet when it falls on a man's head how much annoyance it gives him! Or, again, take the drop which falls from a pitcher to the ground, and yet it hollows a stone. You see, then, that the smallest things coming from above have great power when they fall upon the earth. Thus also is the Divine Spirit, which comes from above, powerful. Trust that Spirit, have nothing to do with the other."

Twelfth Commandment


He says to me: "Put all wicked desire away from you, and clothe yourself with good and chaste desire. Clothed with this desire you will hate wicked desire, and will rein yourself in even as you wish. Wicked desire is wild, and is tamed with difficulty. It is terrible, and consumes men exceedingly by its wildness. Especially is the servant of Yahweh terribly consumed by it, if he falls into it, and is devoid of understanding. Moreover, it consumes all such as do not have the garment of good desire on them, but are entangled and mixed up with this world. These it delivers up to death." I say: "Sir, what are the deeds of wicked desire which deliver men over to death? Make them known to me, and I will refrain from them." "Listen, then, to the works in which evil desire slays the servants of Yahweh."


"Foremost of all is the desire after another's wife or husband, and after extravagance, many useless dainties, drinks, and many other foolish luxuries. All luxury is foolish and empty in the servants of Yahweh. These are the evil desires which slay the servants of Yahweh. This evil desire is the daughter of the devil. You must refrain from evil desires, that by refraining you may live to Yahweh. But as many as are mastered by them, and do not resist them, will perish at last, for these desires are fatal. Put on the desire of righteousness, arm yourself with the fear of Yahweh, and resist them. The fear of Yahweh dwells in good desire. If evil desire sees you armed with the fear of Yahweh, and resisting it, it will flee far from you. It will no longer appear to you, for it fears your armor. Go, then, garlanded with the crown you gained for victory over it, to the desire of righteousness. Deliver up to it the prize you received, serve it even as it wishes. If you serve good desire, and are subject to it, you will gain the mastery over evil desire, and make it subject to you even as you wish."


"I should like to know in what way I ought to serve good desire:" I say. He says: "Hear, you will practise righteousness and virtue, truth and the fear of Yahweh, faith and meekness, and whatsoever excellences are like to these. Practising these, you will be a well-pleasing servant of Yahweh, and you will live to Him. Everyone who serves good desire, lives to Yahweh."

He concluded the twelve commandments, and said to me: "You now have these commandments. Walk in them. Exhort your hearers that their repentance may be pure during the remainder of their life. Fullfill carefully this ministry which I now entrust to you, and you will accomplish much. You will find favor among those who are to repent, and they will give heed to your words. I will be with you, and will compel them to obey you." I say to him: "Sir, these commandments are great, good, glorious, and fitted to gladden the heart of the man who can perform them. But I do not know if these commandments can be kept by man, because they are exceeding hard." He answered, and said to me: "If you lay it down as certain that they can be kept, then you will easily keep them, and they will not be hard. But if you come to imagine they cannot be kept by man, then you will not keep them. Now I say to you, If you do not keep them, but neglect them, you will not be saved, nor your children, nor your house, since you have already determined for yourself these commandments cannot be kept by man."


He said these things to me in tones of the deepest anger. I was confounded, and exceedingly afraid of him, for his figure was altered so that a man could not endure his anger. But seeing me altogether agitated and confused, he began to speak to me in more gentle tones. He said: "Oh feel, senseless and doubting, do you not perceive how great is the glory of Yahweh, and how strong and marvellous? He created the world for the sake of man, subjected all creation to him, and gave him power to rule over everything under heaven. If man is lord of the creatures of Yahweh, and rules over all, is he not able to be lord also of these commandments? The man who has Yahweh in his heart can also be lord of all, and of every one of these commandments. Those who have Yahweh only on their lips, their hearts hardened. Those who are far from Yahweh, the commandments are hard and difficult. You who are empty and fickle in your faith, put Yahweh in your heart, and you will know there is nothing easier, or sweeter, or more manageable, than these commandments. Return, you who walk in the commandments of the devil, in hard, and bitter, and wild licentiousness. Do not fear the devil. There is no power in him against you, for I will be with you. I, the malak of repentance, am lord over him. The devil has fear only, but his fear has no strength. Do not fear him, then, and he will flee from you."


I say to him: "Sir, listen to me for a moment." "Say what you wish:" he says. I say: "Sir, man is eager to keep the commandments of Yahweh, and there is no one who does not ask of Yahweh that strength may be given him for these commandments, and that he may be subject to them. But the devil is hard, and holds sway over them." He says: "He cannot hold sway over the servants of Yahweh who place their hopes in Him with all their heart. The devil can wrestle against these, he cannot overthrow them. If you resist him, he will be conquered, and flee in disgrace from you. As many as are empty, fear the devil, as possessing power. When a man fills very suitable jars with good wine, and a few among those jars are left empty. When he comes to the jars, he does not look at the full jars, for he knows that they are full. He looks at the empty, being afraid lest they became sour. Empty jars quickly become sour, and the goodness of the wine is gone. So also the devil goes to all the servants of Yahweh to try them. As many as are full in the faith resist him strongly, and he withdraws from them, having no way by which he might enter them. He goes to the empty, finds a way of entrance into them, he produces in them whatever he wishes, and they become his servants.


"But I, the malak of repentance, say to you, Do not fear the devil." He says: "I was sent to be with you who repent with all your heart, and to make you strong in faith. Trust Yahweh, then, you who despair of life on account of your sins, who add to your sins, and weigh down your life. Return to Yahweh with all your heart, practise righteousness the rest of your days, and serve Him according to His will. He will heal your former sins, and you will have power to hold sway over the works of the devil. Do not fear the threats of the devil at all, he is as powerless as the sinews of a dead man. Give ear to me. Fear Him who has all power, both to save and destroy. Keep His commandments, and you will live to Yahweh." I say to him: "Sir, I am now made strong in all the ordinances of Yahweh, because you are with me. I know you will crush all the power of the devil. We will have rule over him, and will prevail against all his works. Sir, I hope to be able to keep all these commandments you enjoined upon me, Yahweh strengthening me." "You will keep them if your heart is pure towards Yahweh:" He says. "All who cleanse their hearts from the vain desires of this world will keep them, and they will live to Yahweh."

Third Book: Similitudes

First Similitude

HE says to me: "You know that you who are the servants of Yahweh dwell in a strange land, for your city is far away from this one." He continues: "If you know your city in which you are to dwell, why do you provide lands here, make expensive preparations, accumulate dwellings, and useless buildings? He who makes such preparations for this city cannot return again to his own. Oh foolish, unstable, and miserable man! You do not understand that all these things belong to another, and are under the power of another. The lord of this city will say: 'I do not wish you to dwell in my city. Depart from this city, because you do not obey my laws.' You have fields, houses, and many other things. When cast out by him, what will you do with your land, house, and other possessions you gathered to yourself? The lord of this country justly says to you: 'Either obey my laws, or depart from my dominion.' What do you intend to do? Have a law in your own city, on account of your lands, and the rest of your possessions? You will altogether deny your law, and walk according to the law of this city. See lest it be to your hurt to deny your law. If you desire to return to your city, you will not be received. Because you denied the law of your city, you will be excluded from it. Have a care, therefore, as one living in a foreign land. Make no further preparations for yourself than such merely as may be sufficient. Be ready when the master of this city comes to cast you out for disobeying his law. Leave his city, to depart to your own, obey your own law without being exposed to annoyance, but in great joy. Have a care, then, you who serve Yahweh. Have Him in your heart, that you work the works of Yahweh, remembering His commandments and promises He promised, and believe He will bring them to pass if His commandments are observed. Buy afflicted souls instead of lands, according as each one is able. Visit widows and orphans, do not overlook them. Spend your wealth and all your preparations, which you received from Yahweh, upon such lands and houses. The Master made you rich to this end, that you might perform these services to Him. It is much better to purchase such lands, possessions, and houses, as you will find in your own city when you come to reside in it. This is a noble and sacred expenditure, attended neither with sorrow nor fear, but with joy. Do not practise the expenditure of the heathen, for it is injurious to you who are the servants of Yahweh. Practise an expenditure of your own, in which you can rejoice. Do not corrupt nor touch what is another's, nor covet it, for it is an evil thing to covet the goods of other men. Work your own work, and you will be saved."

Second Similitude

I was walking in the field, observing an elm and vine, determining in my own mind respecting them, and their fruits. The Shepherd appears to me, and says: "What is it you are thinking about the elm and vine?" I reply: "I am considering that they become each other exceedingly well." He continued: "These two trees are intended as an example for the servants of Yahweh." I said: "I would like to know the example these trees are intended to teach." He says: "Do you see the elm and the vine?" "I see them, sir:" I replied. He continued: "This vine produces fruit, and the elm is an unfruitful tree. Thus the vine is trained upon the elm, as it cannot bear much fruit extended at length upon the ground; and the fruit it does bear is rotten, because the plant is not suspended upon the elm. When the vine is cast upon the elm, it yields fruit both for itself and for the elm. You see, moreover, the elm also produces much fruit, not less than the vine, but even more. He continued: "When suspended upon the elm, the vine yields much fruit, and good. When thrown upon the ground, what it produces is small, and rotten. This similitude is for the servants of Yahweh, for the poor man, and for the rich." "How so, sir?" I said: "Explain the matter to me." "Listen:" he said. "The rich man has much wealth, but is poor in matters relating to Yahweh, because he is distracted about his riches. He offers very few confessions and intercessions to Yahweh. Those he does offer are small and weak, and have no power above. If the rich man refreshes the poor, and assists him in his necessities, believe what he does to the poor man will be able to find its reward with Yahweh. The poor man is rich in intercession and confession, and his intercession has great power with Yahweh. The rich man helps the poor in all things without hesitation. Being helped by the rich, the poor man intercedes for him, giving thanks to Yahweh for him who bestows gifts upon him. If he still continues to interest himself zealously for the poor man, that his wants are constantly supplied, he knows the intercession of the poor man is acceptable and influential with Yahweh. Accordingly, both accomplish their work. The poor man makes intercession, a work in which he is rich, which he received from Yahweh, and with which he recompenses the master who helps him. In like manner the rich man unhesitatingly bestows upon the poor man the riches he received from Yahweh. This is a great work, acceptable before Yahweh, because he understands the object of his wealth. He gave of the gifts of Yahweh to the poor, and rightly discharged his service to Him. Among men, however, the elm appears to not produce fruit. They do not know nor understand that if a drought come, the elm, which contains water, nourishes the vine. Having an unfailing supply of water, the vine yields double fruit both for itself and for the elm. So also poor men interceding with Yahweh on behalf of the rich, increase their riches. The rich, again, aiding the poor in their necessities, satisfy their souls. Both are partners in the righteous work. He who does these things will not be deserted by Yahweh, but will be enrolled in the books of the living. Blessed are those who have riches, and understand they are from Yahweh. [For those who are of that mind will be able to do some good.]"

Third Similitude

He showed me many trees having no leaves, withered. All were alike as it seemed to me. He said to me: "Do you see those trees?" "I see, sir:" I replied. "They all are alike, and withered." He answered me, and said: "These trees you see are those who dwell in this world." I said: "Sir, why are they withered, as it were, and alike?" He said: "Because neither are the righteous manifest in this life, nor sinners, but they are alike. This life is a winter to the righteous. They do not manifest themselves, because they dwell with sinners. Trees that cast their leaves in winter are alike, it is not seen which are dead, and which are living. So in this world neither do the righteous show themselves, nor sinners, but all are alike one to another."

Fourth Similitude

He showed me many trees again, some budding, and others withered. He said to me: "Do you see these trees?" "I see, sir:" I replied. "Some putting forth buds, and others withered." He said: "Those which are budding are the righteous who are to live in the world to come. The coming world is the summer of the righteous, but the winter of sinners. When the mercy of Yahweh shines forth, it will be made manifest who the servants of Yahweh are, all men will be made manifest. The fruits of each individual tree appear in summer, and it is ascertained of what sort they are. So also the fruits of the righteous will be manifest, and all who are fruitful in that world will be made known. Like the withered trees you saw, the heathen and sinners will be found to be those who were withered and unfruitful in that world. They are made manifest, and burnt as wood, because their actions were evil during their lives. The sinners will be consumed because they sinned and did not repent. The heathen will be burned because they did not know Him who created them. Bear fruit, therefore, that in that summer your fruit is known. Refrain from much business, and you will never sin. Those who are occupied with much business commit many sins, being distracted about their affairs, and not at all serving Yahweh. How can such a one ask, and obtain anything from Yahweh, if he does not serve Him? Those who serve Him will obtain their requests, but those who do not serve Him will receive nothing. A man can serve Yahweh in the performance of even a single action. His mind will not be perverted from Yahweh, but he will serve Him, having a pure mind. If you do these things, you will be able to bear fruit for the life to come. Everyone who will do these things will bear fruit."

Fifth Similitude


I was fasting, sitting on a certain mountain, and giving thanks to Yahweh for all His dealings with me. I see the Shepherd sitting down beside me, and saying: "Why are you come here early in the morning?" I answered: "Because, sir, I have a station." "What is a station:" he asked? "I am fasting, sir:" I replied. "What is this fasting you are observing:" he continued. "As I am accustomed, sir, so I fast:" I reply. He says: "You do not know how to fast to Yahweh. This useless fasting you observe to Him is of no value." "Why do you say this, sir:" I answered? He continued: "I say to you, The fasting you think you observe is not a fasting. I will teach you what is a full and acceptable fasting to Yahweh. He continued: Listen, Yahweh does not desire such an empty fasting. You will do nothing for a righteous life fasting to Yahweh in this way. Offer a fasting of the following kind to Yahweh. Do no evil in your life. Serve Yahweh with a pure heart. Keep His commandments, walk in His precepts, and let no evil desire arise in your heart. Believe in Yahweh. If you do these things, fear Him, and abstain from every evil thing, you will live to Yahweh. If you do these things, you will keep a great fast, one acceptable before Yahweh.


"Hear the similitude I am to narrate to you relative to fasting. A certain man had a field, and many slaves. He planted a certain part of the field with a vineyard. He selected a faithful, beloved, and much valued slave. He called him to him, and said: 'Take this vineyard I planted. Stake it until I come, and do nothing else to the vineyard. Attend to this order of mine, and you will receive your freedom from me.' The master of the slave departed to a foreign country. When he was gone, the slave took and staked the vineyard. When he finished the staking of the vines, he saw that the vineyard was full of weeds. He then reflected, saying: 'I kept this order of my master. I will dig up the rest of this vineyard, and it will be more beautiful when dug up. It will yield more fruit, being free of weeds, not being choked by them.' He dug up the vineyard, and rooted out all the weeds that were in it. That vineyard became very beautiful and fruitful, having no weeds to choke it. After a certain time the master of the slave and of the field returned, and entered into the vineyard. He saw the vines were suitably supported on stakes, the ground dug up, all the weeds rooted out, and the vines fruitful. He was greatly pleased with the work of his slave. He called his beloved son who was his heir, and his friends who were his councillors. He told them what orders he gave his slave, and what he found performed. They rejoiced along with the slave at the testimony his master bore to him. He said to them: 'I promised this slave freedom if he obeyed the command I gave him. He kept my command, did a good work besides to the vineyard, and has pleased me exceedingly. In return for the work he did, I wish to make him co-heir with my son. Having good thoughts, he did not neglect them, but carried them out.' His son and friends were well pleased with this resolution of the master, that the slave should be co-heir with the son. After a few days the master made a feast, and sent many dishes from his table to his slave. The slave received the dishes sent him from his master, took of them what was sufficient for himself, and distributed the rest among his fellow-slaves. His fellow-slaves rejoiced to receive the dishes, and began to pray for him, that he might find still greater favor with his master for having so treated them. His master heard all these things that were done, and was again greatly pleased with his conduct. The master called his friends and his son together again, and reported to them the slave's proceeding with regard to the dishes he sent him. They were still more satisfied the slave should become co-heir with his son."


I said to him: "Sir, I do not see the meaning of these similitudes, nor am I able to comprehend them, unless you explain them to me." "I will explain them all to you:" he said. "Whatever I mention in the course of our conversations I will show you. [Keep the commandments of Yahweh, and you will be approved, inscribed among the number of those who observe His commands.] If you do any good beyond what is commanded by Yahweh, you will gain more abundant glory for yourself, and will be more honored by Yahweh than you would otherwise be. If you do these services in addition to keeping the commandments of Yahweh, you will have joy if you observe them according to my command." I said to him: "Sir, I will observe whatsoever you enjoin upon me, for I know you are with me." He replied: "I will be with you because you have such a desire for doing good. I will be with all those who have such a desire. He continued: "This fasting is very good, provided the commandments of Yahweh are observed. Thus you will observe the fasting you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire. Purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. You will also do as follows. Fulfill what is written, In the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water. Reckon up the price of the dishes you intended to eat that day. Give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind. He who received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to Yahweh. If you observe fasting as I have command you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to Yahweh, and this fasting will be written down. The service performed is noble, sacred, and acceptable to Yahweh. Observe these things with your children, and all your house. You will be blessed in observing them. As many as hear these words, and observe them, are blessed. They will receive whatsoever they ask of Yahweh."


I prayed him much that he would explain to me the similitude of the field, of the master of the vineyard, of the slave who staked the vineyard, of the sakes, of the weeds that were plucked out of the vineyard, of the son, and of the friends who were fellow-councillors. I knew all these things were a kind of parable. He answered me, and said: "You are exceedingly persistent with your questions. He continued: "You ought not ask any questions at all. If it is needful to explain anything, it will be made known to you." I said to him: "Sir, whatsoever you show me, and do not explain, I saw to no purpose, not understanding its meaning. In like manner, if you speak parables to me and do not unfold them, I heard your words in vain." He answered me again, saying: "Every one who is the servant of Yahweh, and has Yahshua in his heart, asks understanding of Him. He receives it, and opens up every parable, the words of Yahweh spoken in parables become known to him. Those who are weak and slothful in prayer hesitate to ask anything from Yahweh. Yahweh is full of compassion, and without fail gives to all who ask Him. You are strengthened by the sacred malak, and obtain such intercession from Him. Not being slothful, why do you not ask of Yahweh understanding, and receive it from Him?" I said to him: "Sir, having you with me, I am necessitated to ask questions of you, for you show me all things, and converse with me. If I were to see or hear these things without you, I would then ask Yahweh to explain them."


"I said to you a little ago, you are cunning and obstinate in asking explanations of the parables," he answered. "Since you are so persistent, I will unfold to you the meaning of the similitudes of the field, and of all the others that follow, that you may make them known to everyone. He said: "Hear now, understand them. The field is this world. The Master of the field is He who created, perfected, and strengthened all things. [The son is the sacred Spirit.] The slave is the Son of Yahweh. The vines are this people, whom He Himself planted. The stakes are the sacred malaks of Yahweh, who keep His people together. The weeds that were plucked out of the vineyard are the iniquities of Yahweh's servants. The dishes He sent Him from His table are the commandments He gave His people through His Son. The friends and fellow-councillors are the sacred malaks who were first created. The Master's absence from home is the time that remains until His appearing." I said to him: "Sir, all these are great, marvellous, and glorious things. Could I understand them? No, nor could any other man, even if exceedingly wise. Moreover, explain to me what I am about to ask you." "Say what you wish:" he replied. I asked: "Sir, why is the Son of Yahweh in the form of a slave in the parable?"


He answered: "The Son of Yahweh is not in the form of a slave, but in great power and might." "How so, sir:" I said? "I do not understand." He answered: "Yahweh planted the vineyard, He created the people, and gave them to His Son. The Son appointed His malaks over them to keep them. He purged away their sins Himself, suffering many trials, and undergoing many labors, for no one is able to dig without labor and toil. Having purged away the sins of the people, He Himself showed them the paths of life by giving them the law He received from His Father. [You see He is the Master of the people, having received all authority from His Father.] Why Yahweh took His Son as councillor, and the glorious malaks, regarding the heirship of the slave, listen. Yahweh made the sacred, pre-existent Spirit (who created every creature) to dwell in flesh, which He chose. This flesh in which the sacred Spirit dwelt was nobly subject to that Spirit, walking religiously and chastely, defiling the Spirit in no respect. After living excellently and purely, after laboring and co-operating with the Spirit, and having acted vigorously and courageously along with the sacred Spirit in everything, He assumed it as a partner with it. This conduct of the flesh pleased Him, because it was not defiled on the earth while having the sacred Spirit. He took His Son and the glorious malaks as fellow-councillors, in order that this flesh, which was subject to the body without a fault, might have some place of tabernacle, and that it might not appear that the reward [of its servitude was lost]. The flesh in which the sacred Spirit dwelt was found without spot or defilement. You now have the explanation of this parable also."


I said: "Sir, I rejoice to hear this explanation." He replied again: "Keep this flesh pure and stainless, that the Spirit which inhabits it may bear witness to it, and your flesh is justified. See that the thought never arise in your mind that this flesh of yours is corruptible, and you misuse it by any act of defilement. If you defile your flesh, you will also defile the sacred Spirit. If you defile your flesh [and spirit], you will not live." I said: "If anyone was hereto ignorant, before he heard these words, how can such man be saved who defiled his flesh?" He said: "Respecting former sins of ignorance, Yahweh alone is able to heal them, for to Him belongs all power. [Be on your guard now, and the all-powerful and compassionate Yahweh will heal former transgressions], if you do not defile your body nor your spirit in the time to come. Both are common, and cannot be defiled, the one without the other. Keep both pure, and you will live to Yahweh."

Sixth Similitude


I was sitting in my house glorifying Yahweh for all I saw, and reflecting on the commandments, that they are excellent, powerful, glorious, and able to save a man's soul. I said within myself: "I will be blessed if I walk in these commandments, and everyone who walks in them will be blessed." While I was saying these words to myself, I suddenly see him sitting beside me, and hear him thus speak: "Why are you in doubt about the commandments I gave you? They are excellent, have no doubt about them at all. Put on faith in Yahweh, and you will walk in them, for I will strengthen you in them. These commandments are beneficial to those who intend to repent. If they do not walk in them, their repentance is in vain. You who repent cast away the wickedness of this world which wears you out. You will be able to keep these commandments by putting on all the virtues of a sacred life, and will no longer add to the number of your sins. Walk in these commandments of mine, and you will live to Yahweh. All these things are spoken to you by me." After he uttered these words, he said to me: "Let us go into the fields, I will show you the shepherds of the flocks." "Let us go, sir:" I replied. We came to a certain plain, and he showed me a young man, a shepherd, clothed in a suit of garments of a yellow color. He was herding very many sheep. These sheep were feeding luxuriously, as it were, riotously, merrily skipping here and there. The shepherd himself was merry, because of his flock. The appearance of the shepherd was joyous, and he was running about among his flock. [I saw other sheep rioting and luxuriating in one place, but not, however, leaping about.]


He said to me: "Do you see this shepherd?" "I see him, sir:" I said. He answered: "This is the malak of luxury and deceit. He wears out the souls of the servants of Yahweh, and perverts them from the truth, deceiving them with wicked desires, through which they will perish. They forget the commandments of the living Yahweh, and walk in deceits and empty luxuries. They are ruined by the malak, some being brought to death, others to corruption." I said to him: "Sir, I do not know the meaning of these words; 'to death, and to corruption.'" "Listen:" he said. "The sheep which you saw merry and leaping about, are those who tore themselves away from Yahweh forever, and delivered themselves over to luxuries and deceits [of this world. Among them there is no return to life through repentance, because they added to their other sins, and blasphemed the name of Yahweh. Such men are appointed to death. The sheep you saw feeding in one place, but not leaping, are those who delivered themselves over to luxury and deceit], but committed no blasphemy against Yahweh. These are perverted from the truth. There is the hope of repentance among them, by which it is possible to live. Corruption has a hope of a kind of renewal, but death has everlasting ruin." I went forward a little way, and he showed me a tall shepherd, somewhat savage in his appearance, clothed in a white goatskin, a wallet on his shoulders, a very hard staff with branches, and a large whip. He had a very sour look, so I was afraid of him, so forbidding was his aspect. This shepherd, accordingly, was receiving the sheep from the young shepherd, those who were rioting and luxuriating, but not leaping. He cast them into a precipitous place, full of thistles and thorns, so it was impossible to extricate the sheep from the thorns and thistles. They were completely entangled among them. Thus entangled, these pastured among the thorns and thistles, and were exceedingly miserable, being beaten by him. He drove them here and there, and gave them no rest. Altogether, these sheep were in a wretched plight.


I was grieved for them because they were so tormented, so beaten, so badly used, and had no rest at all. I said to the Shepherd who talked with me: "Sir, who is this shepherd, who is so pitiless and severe, and so completely devoid of compassion for these sheep?" He replied: "This is the malak of punishment. He belongs to the just malaks, and is appointed to punish. He accordingly takes those who wander away from Yahweh, who walk in the desires and deceits of this world, and chastises them as they deserve with terrible and diverse punishments." I said: "I would know, sir, of what nature are these diverse tortures and punishments?" He said: "Hear the various tortures and punishments. The tortures are such as occur during life. Some are punished with losses, others with want, others with sicknesses of various kinds, and others with all kinds of disorder and confusion. Others are insulted by unworthy persons, and exposed to suffering in many other ways. Many become unstable in their plans, try many things, and none of them succeed at all. They say they are not prosperous in their undertakings. It does not occur to their minds that they did evil deeds, but they blame Yahweh. When they are afflicted with all kinds of affliction, then they are delivered to me for good training, and they are made strong in the faith of Yahweh. For the rest of the days of their life they are subject to Yahweh with pure hearts, and are successful in all their undertakings, obtaining everything they ask from Yahweh. Then they glorify Yahweh that they were delivered to me, and no longer suffer any evil."


I said to him: "Sir, explain this to me." "What is it you ask:" he said? I continued: "Sir, whether those who indulge in luxury, and who are deceived, are tortured for the same period of time that they indulged in luxury and deceit?" He said to me: "They are tortured in the same manner." ["They are tormented much less, sir:" I replied.] "Those who are so luxurious and who forget Yahweh ought to be tortured seven-fold." He said to me: "You are foolish, and do not understand the power of torment." I said: "Sir, if I understood it, I would not ask you to show me." He said: "Hear the power of both. The time of luxury and deceit is one hour, but the hour of torment is equivalent to thirty days. Accordingly, if a man indulge in luxury for one day, deceived and tortured for one day, the day of his torture is equivalent to a whole year. For all the days of luxury, therefore, there are as many years of torture to be undergone." He continued: "You see the time of luxury and deceit is very short, that of punishment and torture long."


I said: "Still, I do not quite understand about the time of deceit, luxury, and torture. Explain it to me more clearly." He answered, and said to me: "Your folly is persistent. You do not wish to purify your heart, and serve Yahweh. Have a care, lest the time is fulfilled, and you are found foolish. He added: "Hear as you desire, that you may understand these things. He who indulges in luxury, is deceived for one day, does what he wishes, and is clothed with much foolishness. He does not understand the act he did until the morrow, he forgets what he did the day before. Luxury and deceit have no memories, on account of the folly they are clothed with. When punishment and torture cleave to a man for one day, he is punished and tortured for a year, for punishment and torture have powerful memories. While tortured and punished for a whole year, he remembers at last his luxury and deceit, and knows that on their account he suffers evil. Every man who is luxurious and deceived is thus tormented, because, although having life, they have given themselves over to death." "What kinds of luxury are hurtful, sir:" I asked? "An act of luxury is every act a man performs with pleasure:" he replied. The sharp-tempered man indulges in luxury when gratifying his tendency. The adulterer, the drunkard, the back-biter, the liar, the covetous man, the thief, and he who does things like these, gratifies his peculiar propensity, and in so doing indulges in luxury. All these acts of luxury are hurtful to the servants of Yahweh. Those who are punished and tortured suffer on account of these deceits. There are also acts of luxury which save men. Many who do good indulge in luxury, being carried away by their own pleasure. This luxury is beneficial to the servants of Yahweh, and gains life for such a man. The injurious acts of luxury enumerated before bring tortures and punishment upon them. If they continue in them, and do not repent, they bring death upon themselves."

Seventh Similitude

After a few days I saw him in the same plain where I saw the shepherds. He said to me: "What do you wish with me?" I said to him: "Sir, that you would order the shepherd who punishes to depart out of my house, because he afflicts me exceedingly." He replied: "It is necessary that you be afflicted. The glorious malak commanded concerning you, he wishes you to be tried." "What did I do so bad, sir, that I should be delivered over to this malak:" I replied?

"Listen:" he said. "Your sins are many, but not so great as to require that you be delivered over to this malak. Your household committed great iniquities and sins, the glorious malak is incensed at them on account of their deeds. For this reason he commanded you to be afflicted for a certain time, that they also might repent, and purify themselves from every desire of this world. The malak of punishment will depart when they repent, and are purified." I said to him: "Sir, if they did such things as to incense the glorious malak against them, yet what did I do?" He replied: "They cannot be afflicted at all, unless you, the head of the house, are afflicted. Of necessity they also suffer affliction when you are afflicted. If you are in comfort, they can feel no affliction."

I said: "Well, sir, they repented with their whole heart." He answered: "I know, too, they repented with their whole heart. However, do you think the sins of those who repent are remitted? Not altogether. He who repents must torture his own soul, be exceedingly humble in all his conduct, and be afflicted with many kinds of affliction. If he endure the afflictions that come upon him, He who created all things, and endued them with power, will assuredly have compassion, and heal him. He will do this when He sees the heart of every penitent pure from every evil thing. It is profitable for you and for your house to suffer affliction now. Why should I say much to you? You must be afflicted, as that malak of Yahweh commanded who delivered you to me. Give thanks to Yahweh for this, because He deemed you worthy of showing you this affliction beforehand. You may be able to bear it with courage, knowing it before it comes." I said to him: "Sir, you are with me, I will be able to bear all affliction." "I will be with you:" he said. "I will ask the malak of punishment to afflict you more lightly. Nevertheless, you will be afflicted for a little time, and again you will be re-established in your house. Only continue humble, and serve Yahweh in all purity of heart, you and your children, and your house. Walk in my commands I enjoin upon you, and your repentance will be deep and pure. If you observe these things with your household, every affliction will depart from you. He added: Affliction will depart from all who walk in these my commandments."

Eighth Similitude


He showed me a large willow tree overshadowing plains and mountains. All those who are called by the name of Yahweh assembled under the shade of this willow. A glorious malak of Yahweh, who was very tall, was standing beside the willow. He had a large pruning-knife, he was cutting little twigs from the willow, and distributing them among the people that were overshadowed by the willow. The twigs he gave them were small, about a cubit in length, as it were. After they all received the twigs, the malak laid down the pruning-knife, and that tree was sound as I saw it at first. I marvelled within myself, saying: "How is the tree sound, after so many branches were cut off?" The Shepherd said to me: "Do not be surprised if the tree remains sound after so many branches were lopped off. Wait, when you have seen everything, then it will be explained to you what it means." The malak who distributed the branches among the people asked them from them again. They were summoned to him in the order they received them, and each one of them returned his branch. The malak of Yahweh took and looked at them. From some he received the branches withered and moth-eaten. The malak of Yahweh ordered those who returned branches in that state to stand apart. Others returned them withered, but not moth-eaten. He ordered these to stand apart. And others returned them half-withered, and these stood apart. Others returned their branches half-withered, having cracks in them, and these stood apart. [Others returned their branches green, having cracks in them, and these stood apart.] Others returned their branches, one-half withered and the half other green, and these stood apart. Others brought their branches two-thirds green and the remaining third withered, and these stood apart. Others returned them two-thirds withered and one-third green, and these stood apart. Others returned their branches nearly all green, only the smallest part being withered, the top, but they had cracks in them, and these stood apart. Of others very little was green, but the remaining parts withered, and these stood apart. Others came bringing their branches green, as they received them from the malak. The majority of the crowd returned branches of that kind. The malak was exceedingly pleased with these, and these stood apart. [Others returned their branches green, and having offshoots. These stood apart, and the malak was exceedingly delighted with these.] Others returned their branches green, and with offshoots, and the offshoots had some fruit, as it were. Those men whose branches were found to be of that kind were exceedingly joyful. The malak was exultant because of them, the Shepherd also rejoiced greatly because of them.


The malak of Yahweh ordered crowns to be brought. There were brought crowns formed of palms, as it were. He crowned the men who returned the branches which had offshoots and some fruit, and sent them away into the tower. He sent others also into the tower, after giving them seals. Namely, those who returned branches that were green, and had offshoots, but no fruit. All who went into the tower had the same clothing, white as snow. He set free those who returned their branches green, as they had received them, giving them clothing and seals. After the malak finished these things, he said to the Shepherd: "I am going away. You can send these away within the walls, according as each one is worthy to have his dwelling. Examine their branches carefully, and so dismiss them, but examine them with care. See that no one escape you." He added: "If any escape you, I will try them at the altar." Having said these words to the Shepherd, he departed. After the malak departed, the Shepherd said to me: "Let us take the branches of all these, plant them, and see if any of them will live." I said to him: "Sir, how can these withered branches live?" He answered, and said: "This tree is a willow, and of a kind that is very tenacious of life. If the branches are planted, and receive a little moisture, many of them will live. Let us try and pour waters upon them. If any of them live I will rejoice with them, and if they do not at least I will not be found neglectful." The Shepherd bade me call them as each one was placed. They came, rank by rank, and gave their branches to the Shepherd. The Shepherd received the branches, and planted them in rows. After he planted them he poured much water upon them, so that the branches could not be seen for the water. After the branches drank it in, he said to me: "Let us return after a few days, and inspect all the branches. He who created this tree wishes all those who received branches from it to live. I also hope the greater part of these branches which received moisture, and drank of the water, will live."


I said to him: "Sir, explain to me what this tree means. I am perplexed about it, because it continues sound after so many branches are cut off, nothing appears to have been cut away from it. I am perplexed by this." He said: "Listen, this great tree that casts its shadow over plains, mountains, and all the earth, is the Law of Yahweh that was given to the whole world. This Law is the Son of Yahweh, proclaimed to the ends of the earth. The people who are under its shadow are those who heard the proclamation, and believed upon Him. The great and glorious malak Michael is he who has authority over this people, and governs them. This is he who gave them the Law into the hearts of believers. Accordingly he superintends those to whom he gave it, to see if they keep the same. You see the branches of each one, the branches are the Law. You see many branches that are rendered useless. You know them all, those who did not keep the Law, you will see the dwelling of each one." I said to him: "Sir, why did he dismiss some into the tower, and leave others to you?" He answered: "He left under my power for repentance all who transgressed the Law they received from him. But he retains under his own authority all who satisfied the Law, and kept it." I continued: "Who, then, are those who were crowned, and who go to the tower?" "These are those who suffered on account of the Law. The others who returned their branches green, with offshoots, but without fruit, are those who were afflicted on account of the Law, but who did not suffer nor deny their Law. Those who returned their branches green as they received them are the venerable, the just, those who walk carefully in a pure heart, and keep the commandments of Yahweh. You will know the rest when I examine those branches we planted and watered."


After a few days we came to the place. The Shepherd sat down in the malak's place, and I stood beside him. He said to me: "Gird yourself with pure, undressed linen made of sackcloth." Seeing me girded, and ready to minister to him, he said: "Summon the men to whom belong the branches that were planted, according to the order in which each one gave them in." So I went away to the plain, summoned them all, and they all stood in their ranks. He said to them: "Let each one pull out his own branch, and bring it to me." The first to give in were those who had them withered and cut, and because they were found to be thus withered and cut, he commanded them to stand apart. Next those gave them in who had them withered, but not cut. Some of them gave their branches in green, and some withered, eaten as by a moth. Those who gave them in green, accordingly, he ordered to stand apart. Those who gave them in dry and cut, he ordered to stand along with the first. Next they gave them in who had them half-withered and cracked. Many of them gave them in green and without cracks. Some green, with offshoots, and fruits upon the offshoots, such as those who went into the tower after being crowned. Some handed them in withered and eaten, some withered and uneaten, and some half-withered and cracked as they were. He commanded them each one to stand apart, some towards their own rows, and others apart from them.


Then they gave in their branches who had them green, but cracked. All these gave them in green, and stood in their own row. The Shepherd was pleased with these, because they were all changed, and had lost their cracks. They also gave them in who had them half-green and half-withered. Of some, accordingly, the branches were found completely green; of others, half-withered; of others, withered and eaten; of others, green, and having offshoots. All these were sent away, each to his own row. [Next they gave in who had them two parts green and one-third withered. Many of them gave them half-withered; others withered and rotten; others half-withered and cracked, and a few green. These all stood in their own row.] They gave them in who had them green, but to a very slight extent withered and cracked. Of these, some gave them in green, others green with offshoots. These also went away to their own row. Next they gave them who had a very small part green and the other parts withered. Of these the branches were found for the most part green and having offshoots, and fruit upon the offshoots, and others altogether green. With these branches the Shepherd was exceedingly pleased, because they were found in this state. And these went away, each to his own row.


After the Shepherd examined the branches of them all, he said to me: "I told you this tree was tenacious of life. You see how many repented, and were saved." "I see, sir:" I replied. He added: "You behold the great mercy of Yahweh, that it is great and glorious. He gave His Spirit to those who are worthy of repentance." I said: "Sir, why did all these not repent?" He answered: "He gave power to repent with the whole heart to those whose heart He saw would become pure, and obedient to Him. He did not grant repentance to those whose deceit and wickedness He perceived, and saw that they intended to repent hypocritically, lest they should profane His name again." I said to him: "Sir, show me now, with respect to those who gave in the branches, of what sort they are, and their abode, in order that they hearing it who believed, received the seal, broke it, and did not keep it whole, may, on coming to a knowledge of their deeds, repent, receive a seal from you, and glorify Yahweh because He had compassion upon them, and sent you to renew their spirits." "Listen:" he said. "Those whose branches were found withered and moth-eaten are the apostates and traitors of the Church, who blasphemed Yahweh in their sins. Moreover, they are ashamed of the name of Yahweh by which they were called. At the end these were lost to Yahweh. You see not a single one of them repented, although they heard the words I spoke to them, which I enjoined upon you. From such life departed. Those who gave them in withered and undecayed, these also were near to them. They were hypocrites, introducers of strange doctrines, and subverters of the servants of Yahweh, especially of those who sinned, not allowing them to repent, but persuading them by foolish doctrines. Accordingly, these have a hope of repentance. You see many of them repented since I spoke to them, and they will still repent. All who will not repent have lost their lives. As many of them as repented became good, and their dwelling was appointed within the first walls. Some of them even ascended into the tower. He said: "You see that repentance involves life to sinners, but non-repentance death.


"As many as gave in the branches half-withered and cracked, hear about them also. Those whose branches were half-withered to the same extent are the wavering. They neither live, nor are they dead. Those who have them half-withered and cracked are both waverers and slanderers, [railing against the absent,] and never at peace with one another, but always at variance." He continued: "Repentance is possible to these also. You see some of them repented, and there is still a hope of repentance remaining in them:" he continued. "As many of them as repent, will have their dwelling in the tower. Those of them who are slower in repenting will dwell within the walls. And as many as do not repent at all, but abide in their deeds, will perish utterly. Those who gave in their branches green and cracked were always faithful and good, though emulous of each other about the foremost places, and about fame. All these are foolish, indulging in such a rivalry. Yet they are naturally good, on hearing my commandments they purified themselves, and soon repented. Their dwelling, accordingly, was in the tower. If any one relapse into strife, he will be cast out of the tower, and will lose his life. Life is the possession of all who keep the commandments of Yahweh. In the commandments there is no rivalry in regard to the first places, or glory of any kind, but in regard to patience and personal humility. Among such persons is the life of Yahweh, but among the quarrelsome and transgressors, death.


"Those who gave in their branches half-green and half-withered, are those who are immersed in business, and do not cleave to the saints. For this reason, the one half of them is living, and the other half dead. Many heard my command and repented, and at least those who repented have their dwelling in the tower. Some of them fell away at last. These do not have repentance, they blasphemed Yahweh on account of their business, and denied Him. They lost their lives through the wickedness they committed. Many of them doubted. These still have repentance in their power, if they repent speedily, and their abode will be in the tower. They will dwell within the walls if they are slower in repenting. If they do not repent, they too have lost their lives. Those who gave in their branches two-thirds withered and one-third green, are those who denied [Yahweh] in various ways. Many repented, but some of them hesitated, and were in doubt. These have repentance within their reach, if they repent quickly, and do not remain in their pleasures. If they abide in their deeds, these, too, work to themselves death.


"Those who returned their branches two-thirds withered and one-third green, are those who were faithful indeed. After acquiring wealth, they became distinguished among the heathen, clothed themselves with great pride, became lofty-minded, and deserted the truth. They did not cleave to the righteous, but lived with the heathen, and this way of life became more agreeable to them. They did not depart from Yahweh, but remained in the faith, although not working the works of faith. Many of them accordingly repented, and their dwelling was in the tower. Others continued to live with the heathen until the end, and were corrupted by their vain glories, [departed from Yahweh, serving the works and deeds of the heathen.] These were reckoned with the heathen. Others of them hesitated, not hoping to be saved on account of the deeds they did. Others were in doubt, and caused divisions among themselves. Repentance is still open to those who were in doubt on account of their deeds, but their repentance ought to be speedy, that their dwelling may be in the tower. Death is near to those who do not repent, but abide in their pleasures.


"Those who gave in their branches green, but having the tips withered and cracked, these were always good, faithful, and distinguished before Yahweh. They sinned a very little through indulging small desires, and finding little faults with one another. The greater part of them quickly repented on hearing my words, and their dwelling is upon the tower. Some of them were in doubt, and certain of those who were in doubt wrought greater dissension. Among these is hope of repentance, because they were always good, with difficulty will any one of them perish. Those who gave up their branches withered, but having a very small part green, are those who believed only, yet continue working the works of iniquity. They never departed from Yahweh, but gladly bore His name, and joyfully received His servants into their houses. Having heard of this repentance, they unhesitatingly repented, and practise all virtue and righteousness. Some of them even [suffered, being willingly put to death], knowing their deeds they did. The dwelling of all these will be in the tower."


After he finished the explanations of all the branches, he said to me: "Go, tell them to everyone, that they may repent, and live to Yahweh. Yahweh sent me to give repentance, having compassion on all men, although some are not worthy of it on account of their works. Being long-suffering, Yahweh desires those who were called by His Son to be saved." I said to him: "Sir, I hope all who heard them will repent. I am persuaded that each one will repent, on coming to a knowledge of his own works, and fearing Yahweh." He answered me, and said: "All who purify themselves with their whole heart from their wickedness before enumerated, and add no more to their sins, will receive healing from Yahweh for their former transgressions. If they do not hesitate at these commandments, they will live to Yahweh. Walk in my commandments, and live." Having shown me these things, and spoken all these words, he said to me: "I will show you the rest after a few days."

Ninth Similitude


After I wrote down the commandments and similitudes of the Shepherd, the malak of repentance, he came to me, and said: "I wish to explain to you what the sacred Spirit who spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of Yahweh. As you were somewhat weak in the flesh, it was not explained to you by the malak. When you were strengthened by the Spirit, and your strength was increased, so you were able to see the malak also, then accordingly the building of the tower was shown you by the Church. In a noble and solemn manner you saw everything as if shown you by a virgin, but now you see through the same Spirit as if shown by a malak. You must learn everything from me with greater accuracy. I was sent by the glorious malak to dwell in your house for this purpose, that you might see all things with power, entertaining no fear, even as it was before." He led me away into Arcadia, to a round hill. He placed me on the top of the hill, and showed me a large plain. Twelve mountains round about the plain, all having different forms. The first was black as soot. The second bare, without grass. The third full of thorns and thistles. The fourth with grass half-withered, the upper parts of the plants green, and the parts about the roots withered, and some of the grasses became withered when the sun scorched them. The fifth mountain had green grass, and was ragged. The sixth mountain was quite full of clefts, some small and others large. The clefts were grassy, but the plants were not very vigorous, but rather, decayed, as it were. The seventh mountain, again, had cheerful pastures, and the whole mountain was blooming, and every kind of cattle and birds were feeding upon that mountain. The more the cattle and the birds ate, the more the grass of that mountain flourished. The eighth mountain was full of fountains, and every kind of Yahweh's creatures drank of the fountains of that mountain. The ninth mountain [had no water at all, and was wholly a desert, and had within it deadly serpents, which destroy men. The tenth mountain] had very large trees, and was completely shaded. Under the shadow of the trees sheep lay resting and ruminating. The eleventh mountain was very thickly wooded, and those trees were productive, being adorned with various sorts of fruits, so anyone seeing them would desire to eat of their fruits. The twelfth mountain, again, was wholly white, its aspect was cheerful, and the mountain in itself was very beautiful.


In the middle of the plain he showed me a large white rock that arose out of the plain. The rock was more lofty than the mountains, rectangular in shape, so as to be capable of containing the whole world. That rock was old, having a gate cut out of it, and the cutting out of the gate seemed to me as if recently done. The gate glittered to such a degree under the sunbeams, that I marvelled at the splendor of the gate. Round about the gate were standing twelve virgins. The four who stood at the corners seemed to me more distinguished than the others, they were all distinguished, however. They were standing at the four parts of the gate, two virgins between each part. They were clothed with linen tunics, and gracefully girded, having their right shoulders exposed, as if about to bear some burden. Thus they stood ready, exceedingly cheerful and eager. I marvelled in myself after I saw these things, because I was beholding great and glorious sights. Again I was perplexed about the virgins, because, although so delicate, they were standing courageously, as if about to carry the whole heavens. The Shepherd said to me: "Why are you reasoning in yourself, perplexing your mind, and distressing yourself? Do not attempt to comprehend the things you cannot understand, as if you were wise. Ask Yahweh, that you may receive understanding, and know them. You cannot see what is behind you, but you see what is before. Let alone what you cannot see, do not torment yourself about it. Make yourself master of what you see, and do not waste your labor about other things. I will explain to you everything I show you. Look on the things that remain."


I saw six men come, tall, distinguished, similar in appearance, and they summoned a multitude of men. Those who came were also tall men, handsome, and powerful. The six men commanded them to build a tower above the rock. Great was the noise of those men who came to build the tower, as they ran here and there around the gate. The virgins who stood around the gate told the men to hasten to build the tower. The virgins spread out their hands, as if about to receive something from the men. The six men commanded stones to ascend out of a certain pit, to go to the building of the tower. There went up ten shining rectangular stones, not hewn in a quarry. The six men called the virgins, and bade them carry all the stones intended for the building, to pass through the gate, and give them to the men who were about to build the tower. The virgins put upon one another the ten first stones which ascended from the pit, and carried them together, each stone by itself.


As they stood together around the gate, those who seemed to be strong carried them, and they stooped down under the corners of the stone. The others stooped down under the sides of the stones. In this way they carried all the stones. They carried them through the gate as they were commanded, and gave them to the men for the tower. They took the stones and proceeded with the building. Now the tower was built upon the great rock, above the gate. Those ten stones were prepared as the foundation for the building of the tower. The rock and gate were the support of the whole of the tower. After the ten stones other twenty [five] came up out of the pit, and these were fired into the building of the tower, being carried by the virgins as before. After these thirty-five ascended. In like manner these were fitted into the tower. After these forty other stones came up. All these were cast into the building of the tower, [and there were four rows in the foundation of the tower,] and they ceased ascending from the pit. The builders also ceased for a little. Again the six men commanded the multitude of the crowd to bear stones from the mountains for the building of the tower. They were accordingly brought from all the mountains of various colors, hewn by the men, and given to the virgins. The virgins carried them through the gate, and gave them for the building of the tower. When stones of various colors were placed in the building, they all became white alike, and lost their different colors. Certain stones were given by the men for the building, and these did not become shining. Such were found to remain as they were placed, for they were not given by the virgins, nor carried through the gate. These stones were not in keeping with the others in the building of the tower. Seeing these unsuitable stones in the building, the six men commanded them to be taken away, and to be carried away down to their own place where they were taken. [Being removed one by one, they were laid aside.] They say to the men who brought the stones: "Do not bring any stones at all for the building. Lay them down beside the tower, that the virgins may carry them through the gate, and give them for the building. Unless they are carried through the gate by the hands of the virgins, they cannot change their colors. Do not toil to no purpose."


The building was finished on that day, but the tower was not completed. Additional building was about to be added again, and there was a cessation in the building. The six men commanded the builders to all withdraw a little distance, and to rest, but enjoined the virgins to not withdraw from the tower. It seemed to me the virgins were left to guard the tower. After all withdrew, and were resting themselves, I said to the Shepherd: "What is the reason the building of the tower was not finished?" He answered: "The tower cannot be finished just yet, until the Master of it comes, and examines the building, in order that he may change any of the stones found to be decayed. The tower is built according to His pleasure." I said: "Sir, I would like to know the meaning of the building of this tower. What the rock, gate, the mountains, and the virgins mean. And the stones that ascended from the pit, and were not hewn, but came as they were to the building. Why were ten stones placed in the foundation in the first place, then twenty-five, then thirty-five, then forty? I also wish to know about the stones that went to the building, and were again taken out, returned to their own place? On all these points put my mind at rest, sir, and explain them to me." "If you are not found to be curious about trifles, you will know everything:" he replied. After a few days [we will come here, you will see the other things that happen to this tower, and will know accurately all the similitudes." After a few days] we came to the place where we sat down. He said to me: "Let us go to the tower. The Master of the tower is coming to examine it." We came to the tower, and there was no one at all near it, save the virgins only. The Shepherd asked the virgins if perchance the Master of the tower had come, and they replied he was about to come to examine the building.


Behold, after a little I see an array of many men coming, and in the midst of them one man of so remarkable a size as to overtop the tower. The six men who worked upon the building were with him, and many other honorable men were around him. The virgins who kept the tower ran forward, kissed him, and began to walk near him around the tower. That man examined the building carefully, feeling every stone separately. Holding a rod in his hand, he struck every stone in the building three times. When he struck them, some of them became black as soot, some appeared as if covered with scabs, some cracked, some mutilated, some neither white nor black, some rough and not in keeping with the other stones, and some having [very many] stains. Such were the varieties of decayed stones that were found in the building. He ordered all these to be taken out of the tower, to be laid down beside it, and other stones to be brought and put in their stead. [The builders asked him from what mountain he wished them to be brought and put in their place.] He did not command them to be brought from the mountains, [but he bade them be brought from a certain plain which was near at hand.] The plain was dug up. Shining rectangular stones were found, and some also of a round shape. All the stones in that plain were brought, and carried through the gate by the virgins. The rectangular stones were hewn, and put in place of those that were taken away. The rounded stones were not put into the building, because they are hard to hew, and appear to yield slowly to the chisel. They were deposited beside the tower, as if intended to be hewn and used in the building, for they were exceedingly brilliant.


The glorious man, the lord of the whole tower, finished these alterations accordingly. He called the Shepherd to him, and delivered to him all the stones lying beside the tower, that were rejected from the building. He said to him: "Carefully clean all these stones, and put aside such for the building of the tower as may harmonize with the others. Those that do not, throw far away from the tower." [Having given these orders to the Shepherd, he departed from the tower] with all those with whom he came. The virgins were standing around the tower, keeping it. I said again to the Shepherd: "Can these stones return to the building of the tower, after being rejected?" He answered me, and said: "Do you see these stones?" "I see them, sir:" I replied. He said: "I will hew the greater part of these stones, and put into the building, they will harmonize with the others."

I said: "Sir, how can they fill up the same space, after being cut all round about?" He answered: "Those that are found small will be thrown into the middle of the building, and those that are larger will be placed on the outside, and they will hold them together." Having spoken these words, he said to me: "Let us go. After two days let us come and clean these stones, and cast them into the building. All things around the tower must be cleaned, lest the Master come suddenly and find the places about the tower dirty, and be displeased. If these stones are not returned for the building of the tower, I will seem to be neglectful towards the Master." We came to the tower after two days, and he said to me: "Let us examine all the stones, and ascertain those which may return to the building." I said to him: "Sir, let us examine them!"


Beginning, we examined the black stones first. Such as they were taken out of the building, they were found to remain. The Shepherd ordered them to be removed out of the tower, and to be placed apart. Next he examined those that had scabs. He took and hewed many of these, then commanded the virgins to take them up, and cast them into the building. The virgins lifted them up, and put them in the middle of the building of the tower. He ordered the rest to be laid down beside the black ones. For these, too, were found to be black. Next he examined those that had cracks. He hewed many of these, and commanded them to be carried to the building by the virgins. They were placed on the outside, because they were found to be sounder than the others. On account of the multitude of the cracks, the rest could not be hewn, and for this reason they were rejected from the building of the tower. He examined the chipped stones next, and many among these were found to be black, and some to have great cracks. He commanded these also to be laid down along with those which were rejected. After being cleaned and hewn, he commanded the remainder to be placed in the building. The virgins took them up, and fitted them into the middle of the building of the tower, for they were somewhat weak. He examined next those that were half white and half black, and many of them were found to be black. He commanded these to be taken away along with those which were rejected. The rest were all taken away by the virgins. Being white, they were fitted by the virgins themselves into the building. They were placed upon the outside, because they were found to be sound, so as to be able to support those which were placed in the middle, for no part of them at all was chipped. He next examined those that were rough and hard. A few of them were rejected because they could not be hewn, as they were found exceedingly hard. But the rest of them were hewn, carried by the virgins, and fitted into the middle of the building of the tower, for they were somewhat weak. He next examined those that had stains. A very few of these were black, and were thrown aside with the others. The greater part were found to be bright, and these were fitted into the building by the virgins, but on account of their strength were placed on the outside.


He next came to examine the white and rounded stones, and said to me: "What are we to do with these stones?" "How do I know, sir:" I replied? "Have you no intentions regarding them?" I answered: "Sir, I am not acquainted with this art, neither am I a stone-cutter, nor can I tell." He said: "Do you not see they are exceedingly round? If I wish to make them ractangular, a large portion of them must be cut away. Of necessity some of them must be put into the building." I said: "If they must, why do you torment yourself, and not at once choose those which you prefer for the building, and fit them into it?" He selected the larger ones among them, the shining ones, and hewed them. The virgins carried and fitted them into the outside parts of the building. The rest which remained over were carried away, and laid down on the plain from which they were brought. They were not rejected, however. He said: "There remains yet a little addition to be built to the tower. The lord of this tower wishes all the stones to be fitted into the building, because they are exceedingly bright." Twelve women were called, very beautiful in form, clothed in black, and with dishevelled hair. These women seemed to me to be fierce. The Shepherd commanded them to lift the stones that were rejected from the building, and to carry them away to the mountains from which they were brought. They were merry, carried away all the stones, and put them in the place where they were taken. All the stones were removed, and there was no longer a single one lying around the tower. He said: "Let us go round the tower and see, lest there is any defect in it." So I went round the tower along with him. The Shepherd rejoiced exceedingly, seeing the tower was beautifully built. The tower was built in such a way, that, on seeing it, I coveted the building of it. It was constructed as if built of one stone, without a single joining. The stone seemed as if hewn out of the rock, having to me the appearance of a monolith.


I was full of joy as I walked along with him, beholding so many excellent things. The Shepherd said to me: "Go, bring unslacked lime and fine-baked clay, that I may fill up the forms of the stones that were taken and thrown into the building. Everything about the tower must be smooth." I did as he commanded me, and brought it to him. He said: "Assist me, and the work will soon be finished." He accordingly filled up the forms of the stones that were returned to the building. He commanded the places around the tower to be swept, and to be cleaned. The virgins took brooms, swept the place, carried all the dirt out of the tower, brought water, and the ground around the tower became cheerful and very beautiful. Says the Shepherd to me: "Everything is cleared away. If the lord of the tower comes to inspect it, he can have no fault to find with us." Having spoken these words, he wished to depart. I laid hold of him by the wallet, and began to adjure him by Yahweh that he would explain what he showed me. He said to me: "I must rest a little, and then I will explain everything to you. Wait for me here until I return." I said to him: "Sir, what can I do here alone?" He said: "You are not alone, these virgins are with you." "Give me in charge to them, then:" I replied. The Shepherd called them to him, and said to them: "I entrust him to you until I come." And he went away. I was alone with the virgins. They were rather merry, but were friendly to me, especially the four more distinguished of them.


The virgins said to me: "The Shepherd does not come here today." "What am I to do, then:" I said? They replied, "Wait for him until he comes. If he comes he will converse with you, and if he does not come you will remain here with us until he does come." I said to them: "I will wait for him until it is late. If he does not arrive, I will go away into the house, and come back early in the morning." They answered, and said to me: "You were entrusted to us, you cannot go away from us." "Where am I to remain, then:" I said? "You will sleep with us:" they replied. "As a brother, and not as a husband. You are our brother, and for the time to come we intend to abide with you, for we love you exceedingly!" I was ashamed to remain with them. She who seemed to be the first among them began to kiss me. [And the others seeing her kissing me, began also to kiss me], to lead me round the tower, and to play with me. I became like a young man, and began to play with them. Some of them formed a chorus, others danced, and others sang. Keeping silence, I walked with them around the tower, and was merry with them. When it grew late I wished to go into the house, and they would not let me, but detained me. So I remained with them during the night, and slept beside the tower. The virgins spread their linen tunics on the ground, and made me lie down in the midst of them. They did nothing at all but pray. Without ceasing I prayed with them, and not less than they. The virgins rejoiced because I prayed thus. I remained there with the virgins until the next day at the second hour. Then the Shepherd returned, and said to the virgins: "Did you offer him any insult? "Ask him:" they said. I said to him: "Sir, I was delighted that I remained with them." He asked: "On what did you sup?" I replied: "Sir, I supped on the words of Yahweh the whole night." "Did they receive you well:" he inquired? "Yes, sir:" I answered. He said: "What do you wish to hear first?" I said: "I wish to hear in the order you showed me from the beginning. I beg of you, sir, that as I ask you, so also you will give me the explanation." "As you wish:" he replied. "I will explain to you, and will conceal nothing at all from you."


"Explain this to me first of all, sir:" I said. "What is the meaning of the rock and the gate?" He answered: "This rock and this gate are the Son of Yahweh." "How, sir:" I said? "The rock is old, and the gate is new." He said: "Listen, and understand, O ignorant man. The Son of Yahweh is older than all His creatures. He was a fellow-councillor with the Father in His work of creation, for this reason is He old." "Why is the gate new, sir:" I said? He answered: "Because He became manifest in the last days of the dispensation. The gate was made new for this reason, that those who are to be saved by it might enter into the kingdom of Yahweh. You saw those stones which came in through the gate were used for the building of the tower, and those which did not come, were again thrown back to their own place? "I saw, sir:" I replied. He continued: "In like manner, no one will enter into the kingdom of Yahweh unless he receive His sacred name. If you desire to enter into a city, and that city is surrounded by a wall, and has but one gate, can you enter into that city save through the gate it has?" "Why, how can it be otherwise, sir:" I said? "If you cannot enter into the city except through its gate, so, in like manner, a man cannot otherwise enter into the kingdom of Yahweh than by the name of His beloved Son. You saw the multitude who were building the tower?" "I saw them, sir:" I said. He said: "Those are all glorious malaks, and accordingly Yahweh is surrounded by them. The gate is the Son of Yahweh. This is the one entrance to Yahweh. In no other way can anyone enter in to Him except through His Son." He continued: "You saw the six men, and the tall and glorious man in the midst of them, who walked round the tower, and rejected the stones from the building?" "I saw him, sir:" I answered. He said: "The glorious man is the Son of Yahweh. Those six glorious malaks are those who support Him on the right hand and on the left. None of these glorious malaks will enter in to Yahweh apart from Him. Whosoever does not receive His name, will not enter into the kingdom of Yahweh."


I asked: "What does the tower mean? He replied: "This tower is the Church." "And these virgins, who are they?" "They are sacred spirits. Men cannot otherwise be found in the kingdom of Yahweh unless these put their clothing upon them. If you receive the name only, and do not receive the clothing from them, they are of no advantage to you. These virgins are the powers of the Son of Yahweh. If you bear His name, but do not possess His power, it will be in vain that you bear His name. Those stones you saw rejected bore His name, but did not put on the clothing of the virgins." "Of what nature is their clothing, sir:" I asked? He said: "Their very names are their clothing. Every one who bears the name of the Son of Yahweh, ought to bear the names of these also. The Son Himself bears the names of these virgins. As many stones as you saw [come into the building of the tower through the hands] of these virgins, and remaining, are clothed with their strength. For this reason you saw the tower become of one stone with the rock. So also those who believe on Yahweh through His Son, and are clothed with these spirits, will become one spirit, one body. The color of their garments will be one. The dwelling of such as bear the names of the virgins is in the tower." I inquired: "Sir, those stones that were rejected, on what account were they rejected? They passed through the gate, and were placed by the hands of the virgins in the building of the tower." He replied: "You take an interest in everything, and examine minutely. Hear about the stones that were rejected. These all received the name of Yahweh, they also received the strength of these virgins. They received these spirits, they were made strong, and were with the servants of Yahweh. Theirs was one spirit, one body, and one clothing. They were of the same mind, and wrought righteousness. After a certain time, however, they were persuaded by the women whom you saw clothed in black, having their shoulders exposed, their hair dishevelled, and beautiful in appearance. They desired to have these women, clothed themselves with their strength, and put off the strength of the virgins. These were accordingly rejected from the house of Yahweh, and given over to those women. Those who were not deceived by the beauty of these women remained in the house of Yahweh." He said: "You have the explanation of those who were rejected."


I said: "Sir, what if these men, being such as they are, repent, put away their desires after these women, return again to the virgins, walk in their strength, and in their works, will they not enter into the house of Yahweh?" He said: "They will enter in if they put away the works of these women, put on the strength of the virgins again, and walk in their works. On this account there was a cessation in the building, in order that, if these repent, they may depart into the building of the tower. If they do not repent, others will come in their place, and at the end these will be cast out." I gave thanks to Yahweh for all these things. He has pity on all who call upon His name, and sent the malak of repentance to us who sinned against Him, and renewed our spirit. When we were already destroyed, and had no hope of life, He restored us to newness of life." I continued: "Now, sir, show me why the tower was not built upon the ground, but upon the rock, and upon the gate." He said: "Are you still without sense, and understanding?" I said: "I must ask you of all things, because I am wholly unable to understand them. All these things are great and glorious, and difficult for man to understand." He said: "Listen, the name of the Son of Yahweh is great, cannot be contained, and supports the whole world. If the whole creation is supported by the Son of Yahweh, what do you think of those who are called by Him, bear the name of the Son of Yahweh, and walk in His commandments? Do you see what kind of persons He supports? Those who bear His name with their whole heart. He Himself, accordingly, became a foundation to them, and supports them with joy, because they are not ashamed to bear His name."


I said: "Sir, explain to me the names of these virgins, and of those women who were clothed in black raiment." He said: "Hear the names of the stronger virgins who stood at the corners. The first is Faith, the second Continence, the third Power, the fourth Patience. The others standing in the midst of these have the following names: Simplicity, Innocence, Purity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Harmony, and Love. He who bears these names, and that of the Son of Yahweh, will be able to enter into the kingdom of Yahweh. Hear, also, the names of the women who had the black garments. Of these four are stronger than the rest. The first is Unbelief, the second Incontinence, the third Disobedience, the fourth Deceit. Their followers are called Sorrow, Wickedness, Wantonness, Anger, Falsehood, Folly, Backbiting, and Hatred. The servant of Yahweh who bears these names will see the kingdom of Yahweh indeed, but will not enter into it." I said: "What are the stones, sir, which were taken out of the pit and fitted into the building?" He said: "The first, the ten that were placed as a foundation, are the first generation of righteous men. The twenty-five the second generation, the thirty-five are the prophets of Yahweh and His ministers, and the forty are the apostles and teachers of the preaching of the Son of Yahweh." I asked, "Sir, why did the virgins carry these stones also through the gate, and give them for the building of the tower?" He answered: "These were the first who bore these spirits, and they never departed from each other, neither the spirits from the men nor the men from the spirits, but the spirits remained with them until their falling asleep. Unless they had these spirits with them, they would not have been of use for the building of this tower."


"Explain to me a little further, sir:" I said. "What is it that you desire:" he asked? I said: "Why did these stones ascend out of the pit, and be applied to the building of the tower, after having borne these spirits?" He answered: "They were obliged to ascend through water in order that they might be made alive. Unless they laid aside the deadness of their life, they could not in any other way enter into the kingdom of Yahweh. Accordingly, those who fell asleep received the seal of the Son of Yahweh. He continued: "A man is dead before he bears the name of the Son of Yahweh. When he receives the seal he lays aside his deadness, and obtains life. The seal is the water. They descend into the water dead, and they arise alive. This seal was preached to them, and they made use of it that they might enter into the kingdom of Yahweh." I asked: "Why did the forty stones also ascend with them out of the pit, having already received the seal?" He said: "These apostles and teachers preached the name of the Son of Yahweh, after falling asleep in the power and faith of the Son of Yahweh, preached it not only to those who were asleep, but themselves also gave them the seal of the preaching. Accordingly they descended with them into the water, and again ascended. [But these descended alive and rose up again alive; whereas those who had previously fallen asleep descended dead, but rose up again alive.] By these they were quickened, and made to know the name of the Son of Yahweh. For this reason they ascended with them, and were fitted along with them into the building of the tower, and were built in along with them, untouched by the chisel. They slept in righteousness, and in great purity, but only they did not have this seal. You have accordingly the explanation of these also."


"I understand, sir:" I replied. I continued: "Sir, explain to me, with respect to the mountains, why their forms are various and diverse." He said: "Listen, these mountains are the twelve tribes, which inhabit the whole world. The Son of Yahweh was preached to them by the apostles." "But why are the mountains of various kinds, some having one form, and others another? Explain that to me, sir." He answered: "Listen, these twelve tribes that inhabit the whole world are twelve nations. They vary in prudence and understanding. As numerous as are the varieties of the mountains you saw, are also the diversities of mind and understanding among these nations. I will explain to you the actions of each one." I said: "Sir, first explain this: When the mountains are so diverse, their stones became one color when placed in the building, shining like those that ascended out of the pit." He said: "All the nations that dwell under heaven were called by hearing and believing upon the name of the Son of Yahweh. Having received the seal, they had one understanding, and one mind. Their faith became one, their love one, and with the name they bore also the spirits of the virgins. On this account the building of the tower became of one color, bright as the sun. After they entered into the same place, and became one body, certain of these defiled themselves, were expelled from the race of the righteous, and became again what they were before, or rather worse."


I said: "Sir, how did they become worse, after having known Yahweh?" He answered: "He who does not know Yahweh, and practises evil, receives a certain chastisement for his wickedness. But he who does know Yahweh ought not any longer to do evil, but to do good. If he do evil when he ought to do good, does he not appear to do greater evil than he who does not know Yahweh? For this reason, those who do not know Yahweh, and do evil, are condemned to death. Those who know Yahweh, saw His mighty works, and still continue in evil, will be chastised doubly, and die forever. In this way the Church of Yahweh will be purified. As you saw the stones rejected from the tower, delivered to the evil spirits, and cast out there, so [they also will be cast out.] There is one body of the purified, as the tower also became, as it were, of one stone after its purification. In like manner also it will be with the Church of Yahweh, after it is purified, and rejects the wicked, the hypocrites, the blasphemers, the waverers, and those who commit wickedness of different kinds. After these are cast away, the Church of Yahweh will be one body, of one mind, of one understanding, of one faith, of one love. Then the Son of Yahweh will be exceeding glad, and rejoice over them, because He receives His people pure." I said: "All these things, sir, are great and glorious".

I said: "Explain to me the power and the actions of each one of the mountains, that every soul who hears it will trust in Yahweh, and glorify His great, marvellous, glorious, Name." He said: "Hear the diversity of the mountains, and of the twelve nations.


"The first mountain was black, those who believed are the following. Apostates, blasphemers against Yahweh, and betrayers of the servants of Yahweh. Repentance is not open to these, death lies before them. On this account also they are black: their race is a lawless one. The second mountain was bare, those who believed are the following. Hypocrites, and teachers of wickedness. Accordingly, these are like the former, not having any fruits of righteousness. As their mountain was destitute of fruit, so also such men have a name indeed, but are empty of faith, and there is no fruit of truth in them. They indeed have repentance in their power, if they repent quickly. If they are slow in doing so, they will die along with the former." I said: "Sir, why do these have repentance, but the former not? Their actions are nearly the same." He said: "On this account these have repentance: they did not blaspheme Yahweh, nor become betrayers of the servants of Yahweh. They became hypocritical on account of their desire of possessions, each one taught according to the desires of men who were sinners. They will suffer a certain punishment, and repentance is before them, because they were not blasphemers or traitors.


"The third mountain had thorns and thistles, those who believed are the following. Some of them are rich, and others immersed in much business. The thistles are the rich, and the thorns are those who are immersed in much business. Those [who are entangled in many various kinds of business, do not] cleave to the servants of Yahweh, but wander away, being choked by their business transactions. The rich cleave with difficulty to the servants of Yahweh, fearing lest these should ask something of them. Such persons, accordingly, will have difficulty entering the kingdom of Yahweh. As it is disagreeable to walk among thistles with naked feet, so also it is hard for such to enter the kingdom of Yahweh.

But to all these speedy repentance is open, in order that what they did not do in former times they may make up for in these days, to do some good, and they shall live to Yahweh. If they abide in their deeds they will be delivered to those women who will put them to death.


"The fourth mountain had much grass, the upper parts of the plants green, the parts about the roots withered, and some also scorched by the sun, those who believed are the following. The doubtful, and those who have Yahweh upon their lips, but do not have Him in their heart. On this account their foundations are withered, and have no strength. Their words live alone, their works are dead. Such persons are [neither alive, nor] dead. They resemble the waverers. The wavering are neither withered nor green, being neither living nor dead. Their blades were withered on seeing the sun, so also when the wavering hear of affliction, they worship idols on account of their fear, and are ashamed of the name of Yahweh. Such are neither alive, nor dead. These also may yet live, if they repent quickly. If they do not repent, they are already delivered to the women who take away their life.


"The fifth mountain had green grass, and was rugged, those who believed are the following. Believers, indeed, but slow to learn, obstinate, pleasing themselves, wishing to know everything, and knowing nothing at all. Understanding departed from them on account of this obstinacy of theirs, and foolish senselessness entered into them. They praise themselves as having wisdom, and desire to become teachers, although destitute of sense. On account of this loftiness of mind, many exalt themselves, becaming vain. Self-will and empty confidence is a great demon. Many of these were rejected, but some knew their own foolishness, repented, believed, and subjected themselves to those who have understanding. Repentance is open to the rest of this class. They were not wicked, but rather foolish, without understanding. If these repent, they will live to Yahweh. If they do not repent, they will have their dwelling with the women who wrought wickedness among them.


"The sixth mountain had clefts large and small, and decayed grass in the clefts, who believed were the following. Those who occupy the small clefts are those who bring charges against one another, and have decayed in the faith by reason of their slanders. Many of them repented. The rest will also repent when they hear my commandments. Their slanders are small, and they will quickly repent. Those who occupy the large clefts are persistent in their slanders, and vindictive in their anger against each other. These were thrown away from the tower, rejected from having a part in its building. Such persons have difficulty in living. Yahweh our Master rules over all things, and has power over all His creation. He does not remember evil against those who confess their sins, but is merciful. Should man, who is corruptible and full of sins, remember evil against a fellow-man, as if he were able to destroy or to save him? I, the malak of repentance, say to you, As many of you as are of this way of thinking, lay it aside. Repent. Yahweh will heal your former sins if you purify yourselves from this demon. If not, you will be delivered over to him for death.


"Those who believed from the seventh mountain, on which the grass was green and flourishing, the whole of the mountain fertile, every kind of cattle and the fowls of heaven feeding on the grass on this mountain, and the grass on which they pastured became more abundant, were the following. They were always simple, harmless, and blessed, bringing no charges against one another, but always rejoicing greatly because of the servants of Yahweh. Being clothed with the sacred spirit of these virgins, they always have pity on every man, and give aid from their own labor to every man, without reproach and without hesitation. Seeing their simplicity and all their meekness, Yahweh multiplied them amid the labors of their hands, and gave them grace in all their doings. I, the malak of repentance, say to you who are such, Continue to be such as these, and your seed will never be blotted out. Yahweh made trial of you, and inscribed you in the number of us. The whole of your seed will dwell with the Son of Yahweh, for you received of His Spirit.


"Those who believed from the eighth mountain, where were the many fountains, and where all the creatures of Yahweh drank of the fountains, were the following. Apostles and teachers who preached to the whole world, who solemnly and purely taught the Word of Yahweh, and did not at all fall into evil desires, but walked always in righteousness and truth, according as they received the sacred Spirit. Such persons enter in with the malaks.


"Those who believed from the ninth mountain, which was deserted, and had creeping things and wild beasts which destroy men in it, were the following. Those who had the stains as servants, who discharged their duty ill, who plundered widows and orphans of their livelihood, and gained possessions for themselves from the ministry, which they received. If they remain under the dominion of the same desire, they are dead, and there is no hope of life for them. If they repent, and finish their ministry in a sacred manner, they will be able to live. Those who were covered with scabs are those who denied Yahweh, and did not return to Him again. They became withered and desert-like, not cleaving to the servants of Yahweh. Living in solitude, they destroy their own souls. When a vine is left within an enclosure and neglected, it is destroyed. It is made desolate by the weeds, grows wild in time, and is no longer of any use to its master. So also are such men who give themselves up, and become useless to Yahweh, from having contracted savage habits. These men have repentance in their power, unless they are found to have denied from the heart. If any one is found to have denied from the heart, I do not know if he may live. I do not say this for these present days, in order that any one who has denied may obtain repentance, for it is impossible for him to be saved who now intends to deny his Master. But to those who denied Him long ago, repentance seems to be possible. If anyone intends to repent, let him do so quickly, before the tower is completed. If not, he will be utterly destroyed by the women. The chipped stones are the deceitful and the slanderers, the wild beasts you saw on the ninth mountain are the same. As wild beasts destroy and kill a man by their poison, so also do the words of such men destroy and ruin a man. These are mutilated in their faith, on account of the deeds they do in themselves. Yet some repented, and were saved. The rest of such characters can be saved if they repent. If they do not repent, they will perish with those women, whose strength they have assumed.


"The tenth mountain had trees which overshadowed certain sheep, those who believed were the following. Bishops given to hospitality, who always gladly received the servants of Yahweh into their houses, without dissimulation. With their service the bishops never failed to protect widows, and those who were in want, and always maintained a sacred conversation. All these are protected by Yahweh for ever. Those who do these things are honorable before Yahweh, and their place is already with the malaks, if they remain serving Yahweh to the end.


"The eleventh mountain had trees full of fruits, adorned with fruits of various kinds, those who believed were the following. Those who suffered for the name of the Son of Yahweh, who suffered cheerfully with their whole heart, and laid down their lives." I said: "Sir, why do all these trees bear fruit, and some of them fairer than the rest?" He said: "Listen, all who once suffered for the name of Yahshua are honorable before Yahweh. The sins were remitted of all these, because they suffered [died] for the name of the Son of Yahweh. Why their fruits are of various kinds, and some of them superior, listen. All were brought before the authorities, were examined, and did not deny, but suffered cheerfully, these are held in greater honor with Yahweh, and of these the fruit is superior. All who were cowards, in doubt, who reasoned in their hearts whether they would deny or confess, and yet suffered, of these the fruit is less, because that suggestion came into their hearts. The suggestion that a servant should deny his Master is evil. Have a care, you who are planning such things, lest that suggestion remain in your hearts, and you perish to Yahweh. You who suffer for His name ought to glorify Yahweh, because He deemed you worthy to bear His name, that all your sins might be healed. [Therefore, rather deem yourselves happy], think you did a great thing, if any of you suffer on account of Yahweh. Yahweh bestows life upon you, and you do not understand, for your sins were heavy. If you had not suffered for the name of Yahweh, you would have died to Yahweh on account of your sins. These things I say to you who are hesitating about denying or confessing. Acknowledge you have Yahweh, lest, denying Him, you get delivered up to prison. The heathen chastise their slaves when one of them denies his master, what do you think your Master will do, who has authority over all men? Put away these counsels out of your hearts, that you may live continually to Yahweh.


"Those who believed from the twelfth mountain, which was white, are the following. They are as infant children, in whose hearts no evil originates. They do not know what wickedness is, but always remained as children. Without doubt, such dwell in the kingdom of Yahweh. They defiled the commandments of Yahweh in nothing, they remained in the same mind like children all the days of their life. All of you who remain stedfast, and be as children, without doing evil, will be more honored than all who were previously mentioned. All infants are honorable before Yahweh, and are the first persons with Him. Blessed are you who put away wickedness from yourselves, and put on innocence. As the first of all you will live to Yahweh."

After he finished the similitudes of the mountains, I said to him: "Sir, explain to me now about the stones that were taken out of the plain, and put into the building instead of the stones that were taken out of the tower, about the round stones that were put into the building, and those that still remain round."


He answered: "Hear about all these also. The stones taken out of the plain and put into the building of the tower instead of those that were rejected are the roots of this white mountain. When those who believed from the white mountain were all found guileless, the Master of the tower commanded those from the roots of this mountain to be cast into the building of the tower. He knew if these stones were to go to the building of the tower, they would remain bright, and not one of them become black. If he had so resolved with respect to the other mountains, it would have been necessary for him to visit that tower again, to cleanse it. All these persons were found white who believed, and who will yet believe, for they are of the same race. This is a happy race, because it is innocent. Hear further about these round and shining stones. All these also are from the white mountain. Hear why they were found round, their riches obscured and darkened them a little from the truth, although they never departed from Yahweh, nor did any evil word proceed out of their mouth, but all justice, virtue, and truth. Yahweh saw the mind of these persons, that they were born good, and could be good. He ordered their riches to be cut down, not to be taken away forever, that they might be able to do some good with what was left them. They will live to Yahweh, because they are of a good race. They were rounded a little by the chisel, and put in the building of the tower.


"But the other round stones, which were not yet adapted to the building of the tower, and not yet received the seal, were put back into their place for this reason: they are exceedingly round. This age must be cut down in these things, and in the vanities of their riches, and then they will meet in the kingdom of Yahweh. Of necessity they must enter into the kingdom of Yahweh, because Yahweh blessed this innocent race. Of this race no one will perish. Although any of them are tempted by the most wicked devil, and commit sin, he will quickly return to his Master. I deem you happy, I, who am the messenger of repentance, whoever of you are innocent as children, because your part is good, honorable before Yahweh.

Moreover, I say to you all who have received the seal of the Son of Yahweh, Be clothed with simplicity. Do not be mindful of offences, nor remain in wickedness. Lay aside the recollection of your offences and bitternesses, and you will be formed in one spirit. Heal, take those wicked schisms away from you, that if the Master of the flocks come, He may rejoice concerning you. He will rejoice, if He finds all things sound, and none of you will perish. If He finds any one of these sheep strayed, woe to the shepherds! If the shepherds themselves have strayed, what answer will they give Him for their flocks? Will they perchance say they were harassed by their flocks? They will not be believed, for the thing is incredible that a shepherd could suffer from his flock. Rather he will be punished on account of his falsehood. I myself am a shepherd. I am under a most stringent necessity of rendering an account of you.


"Heal yourselves while the tower is still building. Yahweh dwells in men who love peace, because He loves peace. He is far distant from the contentious and the utterly wicked. Restore to Him a spirit sound as you received it. If you give a new garment to a fuller [cleaner], you desire to receive it back entire at the end. If the fuller returns a torn garment, will you take it from him, and not rather be angry, and abuse him, saying: 'I gave you a garment that was entire. Why did you tear it, and make it useless, so that it can be of no use on account of the rent you made in it?' Would you not say all this to the fuller about the rent you found in your garment? You grieve about your garment, and complain because you did not receive it entire. What do you think Yahweh will do to you, who gave you a sound spirit, which you rendered altogether useless, so it can be of no service to its possessor? Its use began to be unprofitable, seeing it was corrupted by you. Because of this conduct of yours regarding His Spirit, will Yahweh not act in the same way, and deliver you over to death? Assuredly, I say, He will do the same to all those He finds retaining a recollection of offences. Do not trample His mercy under foot, He says. Honor Him, because He is so patient with your sins, and is not as you are. Repent, for it is useful to you.


I, the Shepherd, the messenger of repentance, showed and spoke to the servants of Yahweh all these things written above. If you believe, listen to my words, walk in them, and amend your ways, you have it in your power to live. If you remain in wickedness, and in the recollection of offences, no sinner of that class will live to Yahweh. All the words I had to say were spoken to you."

The Shepherd said to me: "Have you asked me everything?" I replied: "Yes, sir." "Why did you not ask me about the shape of the stones that were put into the building, that I might explain to you why we filled up the shapes?" I said: "I forgot, sir." He said: "Now, then, hear about this also. These are those who have now heard my commandments, and repented with their whole hearts. When Yahweh saw their repentance was good and pure, and they were able to remain in it, He ordered their former sins to be blotted out. These shapes were their sins, and they were levelled down, that they might not appear."

Tenth Similitude


After I fully wrote down this book, the messenger who delivered me to the Shepherd came into the house in which I was, and sat down upon a couch. The Shepherd stood on his right hand. He called me, and spoke to me as follows: "I delivered you and your house to the Shepherd, that you may be protected by him." "Yes, sir:" I said. He said: "If you wish to be protected from all annoyance, from all harsh treatment, to have success in every good work and word, and to possess all the virtues of righteousness, walk in the commandments he gave you, and you will be able to subdue all wickedness. If you keep those commandments, every desire and pleasure of the world will be subject to you, and success will attend you in every good work. Take to yourself his experience and moderation, say to all he is in great honor and dignity with Yahweh, he is a president with great power, and mighty in his office. The power of repentance is assigned to him alone throughout the whole world. Does he seem to you to be powerful? But you despise his experience, and the moderation he exercises towards you."


I said to him: "Ask himself, sir, whether I have done anything improper from the time he entered my house, or offend him in any respect." He answered: "I know you neither did nor will do anything improper, and therefore I speak these words to you, that you may persevere. He had a good report of you to me, and you will say these words to others. Those who have repented or will still repent may entertain the same feelings with you, and he may report well of these to me, and I to Yahweh." I said: "Sir, I make the great works of Yahweh known to every man. I hope all those who love them, and have sinned before, may repent on hearing these words, and receive life again." "Continue in this ministry, and finish it. All who follow his commands will have life, and great honor with Yahweh. But those who do not keep his commandments, flee from his life, and despise him. He has his own honor with Yahweh. All who despise Him, and not follow His commands, deliver themselves to death, and every one of them will be guilty of his own blood.

I enjoin you, obey his commands, and you will have a cure for your former sins.


"Moreover, I sent you these virgins, that they may dwell with you. I saw they were courteous to you. You will have them as assistants, that you may be the better able to keep his commands. It is impossible that these commandments can be observed without these virgins. I see they abide with you willingly, but I will also instruct them to not depart at all from your house. You only keep your house pure, as they will delight to dwell in a pure abode. They are pure, chaste, industrious, and have all influence with Yahweh. If they find your house to be pure, they will remain with you. If any defilement befall it, even a little, they will immediately withdraw from your house. These virgins do not at all like any defilement." I said to him: "I hope I will please them, sir, so they will always be willing to inhabit my house. As he to whom you entrusted me has no complaint against me, so neither will they have." He said to the Shepherd: "I see the servant of Yahweh wishes to live, to keep these commandments, and will place these virgins in a pure habitation." When he spoke these words he delivered me again to the Shepherd. He called those virgins, and said to them: "I see you are willing to dwell in his house, I commend him and his house to you, asking that you withdraw not at all from it." The virgins heard these words with pleasure.


Then the malak said to me: "Conduct yourself manfully in this service. Make known to everyone the great things of Yahweh, and you will have favor in this ministry. Whoever walks in these commandments has life, and will be happy in his life. Whosoever neglects them will not have life, and will be unhappy in this life. Enjoin all, who are able to act rightly, to not cease well-doing. To practise good works is useful to them. I say every man ought to be saved from inconveniences. Both he who is in want, and he who suffers inconveniences in his daily life, is in great torture and necessity. Whoever rescues a soul of this kind from necessity, will gain great joy for himself. He who is harassed by inconveniences of this kind suffers equal torture with him who is in chains. Many hasten their own deaths on account of calamities of this sort, when they could not endure them. Whoever knows a calamity of this kind afflicting a man, and does not save him, commits a great sin, and becomes guilty of his blood. Do good works, you who received good from Yahweh. Lest, while you delay to do them, the building of the tower is finished, and you are rejected from the edifice. There is now no other tower a-building. The work of building was suspended on your account. Unless you make haste to do rightly, the tower will be completed, and you will be excluded."

After he spoke with me he rose up from the couch, took the Shepherd and the virgins, and he departed. But he said to me he would send back the Shepherd and the virgins to my dwelling. Amein.

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